Turkey Unrest:Turkish police attack Taksim protesters same brutal methods, Video / Breaking News
Turkish riot police have stormed through barricades to clear Istanbul’s main Taksim square prompting fresh clashes with use enormus tear gas anti-government protesters.
The big push by hundreds of officers at 9am local time forced many thousands of protesters, who had occupied Taksim Square for more than a week, to flee the area.
Diggers mowed down barricades as police used rubber bullets, water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse crowds, as activists hit back with petrol bombs, fireworks and stones.
Protesters ran into Gezi Park where many had been camping – and where the demonstration first started on May 31 as a protest against the planned redevelopment of the green space into a shopping centre.
A violent police crackdown then on the protest has turned what started off as a single peaceful demonstration into a national uprising against the Islamist-rooted government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that is seen by many as authoritarian.
Reporters, in Taksim Square, said: “Protesters have set fire to their barricades. They have been throwing rocks at police and we have seen petrol bombs being thrown.
“What some of the protesters are doing is they are trying to grab canisters of gas and throw them back into the police lines.
The police say they are removing banners, barricades. They say that if the protesters leave them to do that they won’t touch them.
“But what is happening is people are coming out from the park and also the surrounding streets in numbers to try to get towards the police lines.
“Once the protesters stop and move back, the police stop too.
“In Gezi Park, protesters are chanting their defiant slogans again, while outside police are clearing sections of Taksim Square.
“The majority of them are there in the central camp and sitting down and trying to keep calm.
“I spoke to one mother yesterday who was determined that they would stay in the park until the end of this operation.”
Demonstrators had earlier manned the barricades and prepared for a possible intervention when officers began massing in the area and replaced activists’ banners with a large Turkish flag and a poster of Mustafa Kemel Ataturk, founder of the republic.
Scenes in Taksim Square on Tuesday morning contrasted starkly with the carnival-like atmosphere over the weekend.
There was a feeling among protesters then that once Mr Erdogan accepted the scale and strength of the nationwide protests, stretching to scores of towns and cities including the capital Ankara, there would be some level of compromise.
However, that has not happened. He remains defiant and has been rallying his supporters.
Three people have died and thousands have been treated for injuries or the effects of tear gas during the protests.
PM Erdogan had said he would meet with the Gezi Park protesters on Wednesday, following a request by some activists.
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