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Anger over new controls over the Internet boiled onto Istanbul’s streets Saturday, with police using water cannons and tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters, Reuters reports.
The new controls, approved by the Turkish parliament this week, allows the government to block websites on privacy grounds without court orders. The opposition calls it an attempt to stifle discussion of a corruption scandal that emerged Dec. 17 with the arrest of former cabinet ministers close to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
Reuters reported that demonstrators threw stones and set off fireworks aimed at police advancing behind armored vehicles along Istikal Avenue, then scattered. "Everywhere is bribery, everywhere is corruption," some chanted – a variation of an anti-government slogan used in protests last summer.
The government says the Internet reform is aimed at protecting individual privacy, not gagging critics.
Since the scandal broke, Erdogan's government has purged hundreds of police, sought tighter control of the courts and fired executives from banking and telecom regulators and state television.