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The Cop Who Tear-Gassed Turkey’s ‘Lady In Red’ Has To Plant 600 Trees To Show He's Sorry

The photo of the policeman spraying the unarmed woman became a symbol of widespread protests against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2013.

Last updated on June 11, 2015, at 8:59 a.m. ET

Posted on June 11, 2015, at 8:59 a.m. ET

The cop who tear-gassed Turkey’s ‘lady in red’, during the Occupy Gezi protest movement in 2013, has been sentenced to planting 600 trees, the English-language Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily News reported.

A Turkish riot policeman uses tear gas on protestors in Taksim Square, Istanbul, on May 28, 2013.
Osman Orsal / Reuters

A Turkish riot policeman uses tear gas on protestors in Taksim Square, Istanbul, on May 28, 2013.

The photo above became an inspiring meme and a symbol of Turkey's protests – the image was shared around the world, while demonstrators in Turkey made banners and cartoons based on it.

Ceyda Sungur, the woman in the red dress, was an academic in Istanbul who went to join the protest, the BBC reported at the time. Some media outlets, such as the Guardian, reported that she was attacked with pepper spray rather than teargas.

Osman Orsal / Reuters

The protests began in May 2013 as a peaceful sit-in to stop the demolition of Gezi Park, a small green space in Istanbul, the New Yorker reported at the time.

But the Turkish authorities' forceful crackdown, as captured in the "lady in red" photo, turned the demonstration into a wider revolt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's control on freedom of expression, the Guardian reported last year. Eight people died and thousands were injured during weeks of protests.

The policeman was sentenced to community service that involved planting 600 trees and then tending them for six months, according to Hurriyet Daily News. When the protests first started in Gezi Park, the protestors were trying to protect pretty much the same number of trees, according to local news reports in 2013.

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