Gendarmerie shot teargas at a local from close range during a demonstration in the western province of Manisa's Çapaklı district where a group of villagers were protesting the construction of a biogas power plant on their farmlands, journalist Melis Alphan said in a tweet on August 21.
Çapaklı köylüsü, meyve-zeytin bahçeleri ve domates tarlaları ortasına kurulacak Biogaz Elektrik Santrali’ni istemiyor.— melis alphan ♀ (@melisalphan) August 21, 2020
Şirketin hukuksuzca dozerlerle girdiği tarlalarından geçen ‘kaçak yol’da nöbet tutan köylünün coplanarak getirildiği hal. ? @egedegerli pic.twitter.com/VnuW2ZTRn3
"Çapaklı locals don't want a biogas power plant on their tomato fields and olive gardens," Alphan said, adding that villagers were beaten with batons.
Alphan also shared photos of gendarmerie battering protesters, with one man seen on the ground with his hands over his head.
The journalist said that villagers around Turkey shield themselves in front of their farmland, but that their "virtue is met with violence, detention and interrogation."
"Can you hear these villagers that have nothing but their land, in Istanbul or Ankara?" Alphan said, noting that it's crucial to have a platform for environmental causes.
The journalist said that the photo of a man's burned chest was caused by "close-up and direct application of teargas."
Bu görüntü, biber gazının yakından ve doğrudan sıkılmasından dolayı oluşan kimyasal yanık. pic.twitter.com/o5qYj65vSd— melis alphan ♀ (@melisalphan) August 21, 2020
The Manisa governor's office on Aug. 21 released a statement refuting journalist Alphan's allegations and saying that gendarmerie did not use any teargas or baton on the villagers.
As for photos and footages showing gendarmerie battering villagers, the governor's office said that officers had used "proportional force" after facing "resistance" from the protesters.
In the face of the governorate's statement, Alphan shared lawyer Seçil Ege's remarks who said that she was at the scene of the incident when the gendarmerie intervened to disperse the villagers. Ege said that teargas was used on the men, whereas women were battered with batons.