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Turkish Protesters Arrested for Organizing on Social Media, Also Created a Map to Track Police

Prime Minister on social media: "the worst menace to society."

iot police move as Turkish youths shout anti-government slogans and ask the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to resign, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, June 4, 2013. (Photo: AP/Burhan Ozbilici)

Protesters in Turkey have allegedly taken to social media to continue organizing and even created a Google Map to track police, as unrest spread through the week after a weekend sit-in over an Istanbul park demolition escalated.

Popular Science called some of the tactics by protesters "straight out of 'Les Miserables,'" complete with barricades to keep police, vehicles and horses from breaking through -- or at least slow them down.

(Image: Google Maps)

Here are other features of the map as translated by Popular Science:

  • A green tent to mark the heart of Taksim Square
  • Road warnings in green, letting people know which one are open and which are blocked
  • Pink tags for groups announcing who they are and where they are protesting
  • Light blue flags for police locations and reported movements
  • Warnings of police tracking servers online, confusingly under light blue as well.
  • General rallying cries, slogans, and mottos from protesters are marked with house symbol

On the social media front, 25 people have been detained by police for using Twitter a to "spreading untrue information" and to incite further protests. But it is unclear just what tweets were a problem for authorities.

iot police move as Turkish youths shout anti-government slogans and ask the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to resign, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, June 4, 2013. (Photo: AP/Burhan Ozbilici)

The people were wanted for allegedly "inciting enmity and hatred," the agency said. A lawyer for the suspects though denied that claim.

Turkey's main broadcast media has been criticized for shunning the coverage of police brutality at the protest onset. Many people turned to social media to keep up to date.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has referred to social media as "the worst menace to society."

Activists on Wednesday presented a list of demands they said could end days of anti-government demonstrations that have engulfed the country since some tried to stop authorities from ripping up trees in Istanbul's landmark Taksim Square.

Police have deployed water cannons and tear gas has clouded the country's city centers. The Ankara-based Human Rights Association says close to 1,000 people have been injured and more than 3,300 people have been detained over five days of protests.

Riot police run towards protesters during clashes near Taksim square in Istanbul, early Wednesday, June 5, 2013. Turkey's deputy prime minister offered an apology Tuesday for the government's violent crackdown on an environmental protest, a calculated bid to ease days of anti-government rallies in the country's major cities. (Photo: AP/Kostas Tsironis)

The activist group denounced Erdogan's "vexing" style and urged the government to halt Taksim Square redevelopment plans, ban the use of tear gas by police, the immediate release of all detained protesters and the lifting of restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly.

It also demanded that officials - including governors and senior police officials - responsible for the violent crackdown be removed from office.

Protests appeared to calm a bit on Wednesday, even as thousands of trade union members on a two-day strike marched to Taksim and to central Ankara.

Some demonstrations were largely jovial. In Ankara, protesters called themselves "looters." A sign on a stall in Taksim providing free food and water read "Revolution Market."

But there were scattered violent clashes overnight on roads leading to Erdogan's offices in Ankara and Istanbul, as well as in the city of Antakya, near the Syrian border, where a protester was killed Wednesday from an apparent blow to the head.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

(H/T: Popular Science)

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