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24 detained over Twitter support for protest

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-06-05 17:28

ANKARA/ISTANBUL - Twenty-four people were detained overnight in the Aegean Izmir province for supporting via Twitter the ongoing protests across Turkey, private Dogan News Agency reported Wednesday.

The police are still searching for 14 more who were blamed for inciting riots during the week-long protests in Istanbul and other cities, said the report.

The ongoing protests started a week ago as a sit-in at Gezi Park in Istanbul against the redevelopment plans of a city square, and later turned into massive demonstrations against the government across the country.

It is reported that some vandals and extremist groups had also mixed themselves into the peaceful demonstrators.

Ali Engin, provincial head of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), accompanied by party members and relatives of detainees, visited the Izmir Security Directorate's Smuggling and Organized Crime branch and spoke to the authorities about the detention of the suspects, according to Dogan's report.

Engin was quoted as saying that these people were supporting the movement for a "fair and free country," adding that "If that is a crime, then we all committed the crime."

Meanwhile, Sevda Erkan Kilic, CHP's provincial secretary and attorney, said she had studied the cases and found nothing that would "provoke the citizens."

Some of the families claimed that their detained relatives did not have a Twitter or Facebook account.

The Gezi Park incidents have aroused public anger, but the government started to soften its tone after Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc apologized on Tuesday to the protesters for the excessive force used by the police.

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