Nine years after the Gezi protests began in Turkey, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has denounced the participants. “They’re sick, they’re tarts,” Erdogan said in the Turkish parliament on Wednesday. He was referring to an alleged incident in which demonstrators brought beer bottles into a mosque.

Numerous people were arrested during demonstrations marking the anniversary of the protests on Tuesday evening. In Istanbul alone, 169 people were taken into custody by the police, lawyer Ezgi Önalan told the German Press Agency. She accused the police of acting “unlawfully” and using tear gas against the protesters. Four of the demonstrators were still being held at the police station. According to Önalan, they were beaten there.

During the protests, smaller groups near Taksim Square in Istanbul chanted the slogan “Everywhere is Taksim, everywhere is resistance”. The police suppressed the protests, sometimes brutally, as a dpa reporter reported. People also took to the streets in numerous other cities.

The Gezi protests on Taksim Square started at the end of May 2013. They were originally directed against a planned construction project in the Gezi Park area on Taksim. The demonstrations escalated into nationwide protests against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Islamic conservative AKP. The government brutally suppressed the protests. Scores of people are being held in Turkish jails for taking part in the protests.