Violence has gripped the streets of Istanbul in Turkey. The focus of the anger was the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
Riot police, armed with shields and firing tear gas, rushed to break up the protesters in Taksim Square only a few hundred metres from the convention centre where finance ministers, central bankers and economists had been meeting to discuss the global economy. Delegates of the two organisations are holding their annual meetings in the city, with co-operation in international finance reportedly high on the agenda. The demonstrations were organised by several Turkish unions with protesters chanting: “Long live freedom. IMF get out of our city.” Police detained around 100 people while protesters huddled in hotel and shop entrances, caught by the effects of the tear gas. People fled the clashes as the front windows of several banks were smashed. The city’s main square and surrounding streets returned to calm by midday. There is significant opposition among Turkish students to the IMF which helped bail Turkey out of a deep financial crisis eight years ago. Turkey and the IMF are negotiating a possible new loan agreement after the last one expired more than a year ago.