CNN reporter Ivan Watson detained by Turkish police live on air

Ivan Watson was held while reporting on Takism Square demonstrations

Heather Saul
Saturday 31 May 2014 16:55 BST

A reporter for the American news network CNN was detained live on air in Turkey amid demonstrations marking the one-year anniversary of the Taksim Square protests.

CNN’s Istanbul correspondent Ivan Watson was accosted by police as he gave his live news report on the protests by police concerned he was not carrying the requisite press card.

In the video, Watson shows his press card to the men and the cameras but is then asked for further proof of identification. The camera is briefly pushed to the floor as police question him.

“Just a minute, just a minute, may I see your passport please,” a man can be heard asking Watson, before he is filmed being forcibly dragged away by a group of men.

“We’re being detained right now,” Watson replies before the camera cuts out. “I’m being kicked.”

Mr Watson said he and the team were released half an hour later and police apologised for "kneeing him in the butt".

"Turkish police released CNN team after half an hour. Officer apologised for another officer who kneed me while I was being detained," he explained on Twitter.

"Turkish police officer wasn't satisfied w/my press card from prime ministry. 'Many are counterfeited,' he said, demanding [my] passport".

Hundreds of activists mobilised on Saturday for demonstrations in Istanbul and other cities, defying a heavy police presence on the anniversary of nationwide anti-government protests that erupted last year.

In late May and June last year, hundreds of thousands of Turks took to the streets denouncing Erdogan's increasingly autocratic leadership and demanding more democratic freedoms. The protests were sparked by opposition to government plans to uproot trees at Taksim Square's Gezi Park and build a shopping center.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned activists to keep away from the square, saying authorities were under strict orders to prevent protests.

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