Police, Anti-Gov't Protesters Clash in Turkey

PM pulls back police after two-day battle in Istanbul

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jun 1, 2013 2:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Turkish police retreated from a main Istanbul square today, removing barricades and allowing in thousands of demonstrators to calm tensions after a crackdown on furious anti-government protests turned the city center into a battlefield. A human rights group said hundreds of people were injured in scuffles with police that lasted through the night. As police retreated, some protesters hurled objects at officers and police vehicles, prompting police to fire several rounds of tear gas, the private Dogan news agency reported. The state-run Anadolu Agency said protesters threw fireworks at police.

The two days of national protest, which began over a violent police raid of an anti-development sit-in in Taksim square, have revealed the depths of anger against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Many Turks view him as increasingly authoritarian and dismissive of opposing views. The protest was also seen as a demonstration of the anger building toward Turkish police, who have been accused of using inordinate force to quash demonstrations and of using tear gas excessively. But even as he appeared to relent to demonstrators by pulling back police, Erdogan remained defiant, insisting that the demonstrations were illegitimate. He challenged protesters that he could easily summon a million people for a pro-government rally.

Protesters gather in support of demonstrators staging a sit-in to prevent the uprooting of trees at an Istanbul park, run as they clash with riot police in Ankara, Turkey, early Saturday, June 1, 2013. Turkey's government on Saturday appeared to be trying to placate demonstrators on the second day of...
Protesters gather in support of demonstrators staging a sit-in to prevent the uprooting of trees at an Istanbul park, run as they clash with riot police in Ankara, Turkey, early Saturday, June 1, 2013....   (Burhan Ozbilici)
Turkish youths shout slogan  Tayyip, resign!  as they clash with security forces in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 1, 2013. Turkish police retreated from a main Istanbul square Saturday, removing barricades and allowing in thousands of protesters in a move to calm tensions after furious anti-government protests turned the city center...
Turkish youths shout slogan " Tayyip, resign! " as they clash with security forces in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 1, 2013. Turkish police retreated from a main Istanbul square Saturday, removing barricades...   (Burhan Ozbilici)
Riot police on the scene where demonstrators were staging a sit-in to prevent the uprooting of trees at an Istanbul park, in Ankara, Turkey, early Saturday, June 1, 2013. Turkey's government on Saturday appeared to be trying to placate demonstrators on the second day of anti-government demonstrations, even as police...
Riot police on the scene where demonstrators were staging a sit-in to prevent the uprooting of trees at an Istanbul park, in Ankara, Turkey, early Saturday, June 1, 2013. Turkey's government on Saturday...   (Burhan Ozbilici)
Turkish youth gestures and shouts along with others  Tayyip, resign!   in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 1, 2013. Turkish police retreated from a main Istanbul square Saturday, removing barricades and allowing in thousands of protesters in a move to calm tensions after furious anti-government protests turned the city center into a...
Turkish youth gestures and shouts along with others " Tayyip, resign! " in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, June 1, 2013. Turkish police retreated from a main Istanbul square Saturday, removing barricades and...   (AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici)
A man runs through smoke of tear gas fired up by riot police in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, May 31.
A man runs through smoke of tear gas fired up by riot police in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, May 31.   (AP Photo)
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