- Posted March 11, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Protests across Turkey
Protests Rage on in Istanbul Following Boy's Death (Kadıköy)
- Verybecoming, CNN iReport producer
Massive protests broke out across Turkey on Tuesday following the death of a 15-year-old boy who, while attempting to buy bread for his family, was shot in the head by police with a canister of tear gas last June during the Gezi Park protests. Berkin Elvan passed away at approximately 7am Tuesday at an Istanbul hospital. He had been in a coma for 269 days, and doctors reported that his condition had deteriorated in recent weeks, with his body weight dropping to just 35 pounds.
In Kadıköy, a popular seaside neighborhood located on the Asian side of Istanbul, thousands of protesters gathered on the main avenue leading from the ferry terminal to Boğa Heykeli, chanting and waving banners with pictures of Berkin. Riot police quickly intervened and fired rounds of tear gas canisters into the massive crowd, forcing demonstrators to break apart and flee into nearby restaurants and side streets. Protesters hurled stones and shot off fireworks into the main avenue while police relentlessly retaliated with tear gas and water canons. At one point, police stormed into the Starbucks coffeehouse, yelling at customers and suspected demonstrators, forcing them into the rear of the building, and then escorting nearly everyone outside. The city center of Kadıköy quickly became an area somewhat resembling a war zone. A number of ATMs had been smashed with glass doors of banks completely shattered. Numerous alarms echoed loudly off of historic buildings lining the famous Bahariye shopping street. A simit cart lay on its side on the trolley tracks, completely engulfed in flames. Confrontations between police and protesters lasted well into the night, with the debris, broken glass, and burning piles of rubble lining the main avenues and walkways.
The funeral for Berkin Elvan is scheduled for Wednesday on the European side of Istanbul. With important municipal elections scheduled to take place in just under three weeks, it seems that recent escalating protests and demonstrations nationwide point to a possible breaking point, one that could perhaps surpass the infamous Gezi Park movement last summer.