Turkey: Thousands protest against joining UNIFIL

September 5, 2006 17:31

More than 10,000 protesters, chanting slogans against sending Turkish soldiers to Lebanon, gathered Tuesday in Ankara as lawmakers were set to vote on the government's plan to deploy peacekeepers. Hundreds of riot police were deployed behind a line of armored personnel carriers to stop the protesters from marching toward the parliament building. A handful of protesters climbed on top of several of the armored police vehicles and briefly waved a Lebanese flag. Crowds of demonstrators sat down in the street in defiance of police efforts to move them. Police used loudspeakers to urge the crowd to disperse. The protesters carried banners that read: "We won't be the soldiers of the United States and Israel" and "Mehmet's blood is not for sale." Turks affectionately call their soldiers "Mehmet," a common Turkish name.

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