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14 arrested in Istanbul as police use tear gas against protesting football fans (PHOTOS)

Published time: April 21, 2014 00:28
Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas fan groups use flares as they protest against a new system of e-tickets on April 20, 2014, on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas fan groups use flares as they protest against a new system of e-tickets on April 20, 2014, on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

Police in Istanbul used tear gas and water cannons to disperse hundreds of football fans protesting the recent switch to the e-ticket system, which they say allows police to snoop on their private data. At least 14 people were arrested in the clashes.

Demonstrators aimed to march from Galatasaray Square to the city's famous Taksim Square to show their disapproval of the electronic ticket system that was introduced by the Turkish Football Federation (TFF) earlier this week. However, the protesters didn't even manage to complete half of their march.

Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas throw flares at the police as they protest against a new system of e-tickets on April 20, 2014, on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. (AFP Photo / Ozan Kose)

Police intervened as protesters approached Istiklal Avenue, located just 300 meters from the starting point of the march, and refused to peacefully leave the area. As fans started throwing flares at the police, officers used tear gas and water cannons to stop the rally from continuing.

According to local media, over 700 protesters were present at the demonstration.

Most of the protesters were from three Istanbul football clubs: Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas.

Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas protest against a new system of e-tickets on April 20, 2014, on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. (AFP Photo / Ozan Kose)

Opponents of the new system say it will allow police to access private data – including personal identity information and bank account details – when they buy match tickets. They claim it will give the government greater control over its population through invading people's privacy.

Many football fans have vowed to boycott matches while the system remains in place.

The Turkish Football Federation adopted the electronic ticket system on April 14, replacing paper tickets. From now on, fans must use an electronic fan card called 'Passolig.' The federation says the system was introduced to help fight violence and vandalism during football matches.

The new system will help authorities pinpoint which fans were responsible for violence during the game, as it forces everyone attending the match to buy the electronic card online ahead of time and pre-pay the amount needed for the match.

The card was created by investment bank Aktif Yatirim Bankasi AS, which allegedly has close ties to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

A Turkish police throws a flare back to football fans as they protest against a new system of e-tickets on April 20, 2014, on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. (AFP Photo / Ozan Kose)

Soccer fans throw flares at riot police, who use a water cannon against them, during a protest against the new e-ticket system in Istanbul April 20, 2014. (Reuters / Murad Sezer)

A smoke flare is seen in front of a police vehicle as Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas clashed with riot police during a protest against a new system of e-tickets on April 20, 2014, on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. (AFP Photo / Ozan Kose)

Police use water canons on Galatasaray, Fenerbahce and Besiktas supporters as they protest against a new system of e-tickets on April 20, 2014, on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. (AFP Photo / Ozan Kose)

Fenerbahce and Besiktas clash with riot police as they protest against a new system of e-tickets on April 20, 2014, on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. (AFP Photo / Bulent Kilic)

Fenerbahce and Besiktas throw flares at the police as they protest against a new system of e-tickets on April 20, 2014, on Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul. (AFP Photo / Ozan Kose)

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