Turkish security guards beat students protesting gov’t bill to split up Gazi University

A protest against plans to split up Ankara’s Gazi University deteriorated into a melee on Thursday, resulting in several injuries and detentions and gunfire causing students to disperse, news and social media sources have reported.

According to a report by online news outlet Ahval, students and staff members have been gathering at Gazi University to protest against plans to divide existing universities, including Gazi and İstanbul, and attach their departments to 20 planned new universities.

Police and security guards intervened using tear gas as students approached the rector’s office chanting slogans, BBC Türkçe reported. Elsewhere, a video circulating on social media showed chaotic scenes of protesters armed with sticks brawling with campus security guards, while in the background gunfire can be heard.

The gunfire came from an unidentified person firing into the air, causing hundreds of students gathered to disperse, Internet news site Mynet reported. Another video from the protests published on Mynet shows riot police and ambulances gathered near the protesters.

A large number of students and four security personnel were wounded during the protests, according to news site Rahaber.

A video shared by online news outlet Yarın also showed a group of university students being beaten by security staff at Ankara’s Gazi University campus. The students were reportedly attacked while protesting a recent government proposal to establish 20 new universities across Turkey at the same time dividing up some of the existing universities.

Among the universities affected are Gazi University, Sakarya University, Anadolu University, İnönü University, Süleyman Demirel University and Afyon Kocatepe University.

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