ISTANBUL – Turkish riot police fired water cannons and tear gas at hundreds of demonstrators who tried to march to Istanbul’s main square to protest legislation which critics say will tighten government controls over the Internet.
Demonstrators hurled firecrackers and stones Saturday at police officers who cordoned off Taksim Square. Many also denounced a corruption scandal involving former Cabinet ministers and called on the government to resign.
The president is under pressure not to ratify the legislation, which would allow authorities to block websites for privacy violation without a court decision. Internet providers would also be forced to keep users’ data and make them available to authorities.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied accusations of censorship on Saturday, insisting the legislation would make the Internet “more safe and free.”