Police used pepper gas and water cannons to disperse crowds of demonstrators who took to the streets Tuesday to protest a meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Some protesters broke shop windows in and around Taksim square before scurrying for cover as police armored cars hosed them with water. Taksim square, in downtown Istanbul, is blocks from the site of the IMF meeting. Delegates are in the city to discus ways to battle poverty and to strategize ways to prevent a repeat of last year’s global economic crisis. Though Turkey is one of the world’s 20 wealthiest economies, a huge income gap exists. The latest government statistics show that nearly one in five Turks lives below the poverty line, despite the country’s economy enjoying steady growth for much of the past decade. Watch flag-waving protesters throng Istanbul Over the past year, the economic crisis has pummeled Turkey’s export-driven industries, pushing unemployment to record highs. The downturn has hit everyone from Istanbul’s garbage pickers, who say there is less useful trash to scavenge, to Istanbul’s cabbies, who complain that fewer customers can afford rides. iReport: Send your photos, videos
On Thursday, a protester threw a shoe at the IMF director, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, at the end of a question-and-answer session Thursday at a university in Istanbul. The shoe missed. Other demonstrators at Bilgi University unfurled a banner and chanted, “Go away, IMF. You’re stealing money.”