Police forces began using tear gas on crowds gathering in the fields around Silivri Courthouse ahead of the Ergenekon verdict trial.
A small group of people had been standing in a field nearby, and the numbers soon began to grow. The group was warned by forces to disperse but refused to do so.
Police then resorted to tear gas to disperse the crowds.
The hearing finally began around noon, after a three hour delay due to slower procedures amid security checks and protest attempts.
Silivri routes shut down
All highways and toll booths on way to Istanbul’s Silivri were shut down from the morning hours as part of security measures to block all possible demonstrations ahead of the Ergenekon verdict trial at the Silivri Courthouse.
Gendarmerie commando units were transferred to Silivri from nearby cities, and police officers began taking positions at the site from the late hours of Aug. 4.
Even those who attempted to walk through fields to reach the courthouse were prevented from doing so, with police and gendarmerie forces surrounding the site. A small group of protesters have gathered in the fields near the courthouse.
TEM highway was also shut down, with a separate route drawn out just for those who are allowed to participate during the hearing.
Only lawyers, suspects and members of the press are allowed inside the courthouse, with reporters already undergoing strict security checks. No computers are also allowed inside the courtroom and only reporters with yellow press cards made it in.
Even drivers of vehicles that brought reporters to the side were held up, as inquiries were made of their IDs and press cards as well.
A military helicopter circles the site, according to daily Hürriyet. A tent hosting volunteers to observe the trials were searched in detail by gendarmerie forces around six o’clock in the morning.
Groups still attempted to reach the courthouse; however, so far all attempts have been prevented by security officials. A large group of buses were stopped ahead of Kınalı toll booths where they are currently waiting to be let in.
Silivri airspace shut down during Ergenekon hearing
Authorities have blocked all access to Silivri airspace until 6 p.m., according to the General Directorate of State Airports Authority of Turkey (DHMİ).
DHMİ announced the decision early on Aug. 5, which covers the access of all air vehicles, planes and helicopters included, within seven sea miles around Silivri courthouse and up to 3,000 feet high.
Only the security directorate’s airplanes and planes serving purposes of fighting fires and medical assistance are exempt from the ban.