Choking the highways and crammed onto ferries, hundreds of thousands of Turks streamed into this port city on Sunday in an enormous show of opposition to the pro-Islamic ruling party.
Some 1.5 million protesters carried anti-government banners, Turkish flags and pictures of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who founded the secular republic in 1923.
The rally was organized as a show of strength ahead of general elections on July 22, and follows similar demonstrations in Ankara and Istanbul last month. The rallies increased pressure on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, which nominated a presidential candidate deemed Islamist.
China launches Nigerian satellite
China announced today that it had launched a Chinese-manufactured communications satellite into orbit on behalf of Nigeria, marking the first time China has built a commercial satellite and put it into orbit on contract for another country.
The launch from the Xichang space center in southwestern Sichuan province was viewed as another sign of China’s increasing prowess in space and its determination to be among the world’s great powers seeking to utilize the reaches of outer space.
Pope decries turn from church
Pope Benedict XVI blamed both Marxism and unbridled capitalism for Latin America’s problems on Sunday, urging bishops to mold a new generation of Roman Catholic leaders in politics to reverse the church’s declining influence in the region.
Before boarding a plane for Rome at the end of a five-day trip to the most populous Catholic nation in the world, Benedict criticized capitalism’s negative effects as well as the Marxist influences that have motivated some grass-roots Catholic activists.
“The Marxist system, where it found its way into government, not only left a sad heritage of economic and ecological destruction, but also a painful destruction of the human spirit,” he said.