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Some Turkish demonstrators say no to referendum on Gezi Park's future


08:58, June 14, 2013

ISTANBUL, June 13 (Xinhua) -- Over 1,000 Turkish demonstrators on Thursday declared here their objection to the referendum proposal put forth by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the future of Istanbul's Gezi Park.

The protesters defied the warnings by the Turkish authority to disperse from the park at Taksim Square, announcing that they intend to remain until "concrete steps" are made to meet their demands.

Can Atalay, spokesman of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, which organized the anti-government demonstrations, said "We will remain in Gezi Park as we came to sit in the first day, with our songs, books, tents, sleeping bags and all our demands."

"Gezi Park is life. We will continue to defend our vital rights everywhere and under every condition," the spokesman said.

He noted that "the court had already suspended the construction of the historic barracks on the site," saying "Under normal conditions, 'meeting of our demands' is the government's duty toward its citizens."

However, the protesters said the discussion in terms of referendum was a progress after the police raids, adding "We consider the government's ending of threats and opening of a discussion on a 'referendum' as a step and a promise that there won't be new casualties."

"But we unfortunately note that the threatening language is still present in the prime minister's or spokesperson's statements, " said the protesters, who insist that their demands for keeping Gezi Park untouched and investigating those who were responsible for the heavy police repression and loss of life are legal and legitimate.

Leaders of the demonstrations have made six demands to the government in a meeting last week, including a ban or severe restrictions in the use of tear gas and the dismissal of officials involved in the violent crackdowns, especially during the first day of the protests.

Earlier in the day, Interior Minister Muammer Guler issued a warning to protesters staging anti-government rallies, saying the ongoing situation at Gezi Park could "not continue in this way."

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