Date: Tuesday, 30-October-2012, 10:33 AM | Message # 1
Turkish police use tear gas and water cannons to try to break up a demonstration by tens of thousands of pro-secular protesters, but the march to mark the founding of the Turkish republic went on in defiance of a government ban. The celebration of the founding of the Turkish republic has in the past few years become a symbol of the divide between Prime Minister Recep Erdogan's elected, Islamic-leaning government and its opponents who fear the country's secular traditions are in danger. The Ankara governor's office last week denied authorization for the march, citing security reasons, and declared the gathering illegal. Challenging the ban, tens of thousands of people assembled in the old part of Ankara, near the building housing Turkey's first parliament, to march to the mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the secular republic 89 years ago after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.