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Protest movement spawns new Gezi Party in Turkey

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A group of musicians and artists have founded a new political party named after the Istanbul park that became the epicentre of nationwide protests against the Turkish government in June.

The Gezi Party, named after Gezi Park in Turkey's largest city, will focus on altering the country's constitution to make it "more democratic", according to its Facebook page, and will be led by Resit Cem Koksal, 37, a rock musician.

"We all want to live in a democratic country. To assert our demands, we took to the streets and lost lives," a message on its Facebook page read.

"Now it's time to enter Parliament," it added.

The party was officially registered on October 1 with the Turkish Interior Ministry, and will field its first candidates in legislative elections in 2015, it said.

Its logo features a tree with a man with spread arms forming the trunk.

A heavy-handed police crackdown on a peaceful sit-in against the destruction of the city's main green space in June left at least six people dead and thousands injured in three weeks of clashes between protesters and police.

The Istanbul protests spiralled into nationwide demonstrations against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development party (AKP), accused of repressing critics and forcing Islamic values on the mainly Muslim but staunchly secular nation.

A new wave of demonstrations protesting the construction of a road through the campus of an Ankara university began in September, heralding a potential new chapter for the movement.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/131024/protest-movement-spawns-new-gezi-party-turkey