Turkey police use tear gas to disperse protest against new internet controls

Turkish police have fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds of protesters rallying against “draconian” internet laws approved by parliament.

The new bill was passed late Wednesday by the parliament dominated by the Erdogan’s AKP party.

If the president approves the legislation, it would give authorities the power to block web pages without a court order within just hours. The opposition says the move is part of a government bid to stifle a corruption scandal.

It would also require internet service providers (ISPs) to store data on their clients’ online activities for two years and provide it to the authorities on request.

The bill amends Law No. 5651, widely known as Turkey’s Internet Law that came into effect in July 2007.

Prepared by the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, the bill provoked mass rallies in mid-January, shortly after it was announced. The protest was dispersed by riot police who used water cannons and tear gas against hundreds of opponents of the bill.

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