Police Clear Turkish Protesters With Water Cannons, Tear Gas

Riot cops clear Taksim Square after warning from PM

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jun 15, 2013 2:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – Riot police fired water cannons and tear gas as they drove protesters out of Istanbul's Taksim Square and neighboring Gezi Park today, an intervention that came shortly after the prime minister warned that security forces "know how to clear" the area. Within a half-hour, the police had emptied the park, leaving a series of colorful, abandoned tents behind. Bulldozers moved in afterward, scooping up debris as crews of workmen tore down the tents. Protesters put up little physical resistance, even as plain-clothes police shoved many of them to drive them from the park.

White smoke billowed skyward as a phalanx of white-helmeted riot police marched inside the park. They tore down protesters' banners, toppled a communal food stall, and sprayed tear gas over the tents—urging those inside to pull out. Protesters carried someone away on a stretcher. In a show of power before thousands of flag-waving party faithful, PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan had earlier threatened protesters in a boisterous speech. "I say this very clearly: either Taksim Square is cleared, or if it isn't cleared then the security forces of this country will know how to clear it," he told the crowd.

Protesters sleep under a plastic sheet at the Gezi Park of the Taksim Square in Istanbul early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters held on Friday debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the results of a meeting their representatives had with the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and...
Protesters sleep under a plastic sheet at the Gezi Park of the Taksim Square in Istanbul early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters held on Friday debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the...   (Thanassis Stavrakis)
A boy sits on a barricade in Taksim square  in Istanbul, Saturday, June 15, 2013, backdropped by huge Turkish flags and a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Protesters will press on with their sit-in at an Istanbul park, an activist said Saturday, defying government appeals...
A boy sits on a barricade in Taksim square in Istanbul, Saturday, June 15, 2013, backdropped by huge Turkish flags and a portrait of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey. Protesters will...   (Vadim Ghirda)
A protester sleeps under a plastic sheet at the Gezi Park of the Taksim Square in Istanbul early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters held on Friday debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the results of a meeting their representatives had with the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan...
A protester sleeps under a plastic sheet at the Gezi Park of the Taksim Square in Istanbul early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters held on Friday debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss...   (Thanassis Stavrakis)
People light candles for the victims of the protests at Taksim square, in Istanbul, early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters were holding debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the results of a meeting their representatives had with the prime minister and whether his proposal was enough for...
People light candles for the victims of the protests at Taksim square, in Istanbul, early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters were holding debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the results...   (Vadim Ghirda)
A protester sleeping on a bench is covered with umbrellas at Gezi Park, Taksim Square in Istanbul early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters held debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the results of a meeting their representatives had with the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and whether...
A protester sleeping on a bench is covered with umbrellas at Gezi Park, Taksim Square in Istanbul early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters held debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the...   (Thanassis Stavrakis)
A bulldozer cleans the entrance of Gezi Park from debris in Istanbul, Saturday, June 15, 2013.
A bulldozer cleans the entrance of Gezi Park from debris in Istanbul, Saturday, June 15, 2013.   (Thanassis Stavrakis)
People light candles for the victims of the protests at Taksim square, in Istanbul, early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters were holding debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the results of a meeting their representatives had with the prime minister and whether his proposal was enough for...
People light candles for the victims of the protests at Taksim square, in Istanbul, early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters were holding debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the results...   (Vadim Ghirda)
A cat passes by sleeping protesters at the Gezi Park of the Taksim Square in Istanbul early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters held on Friday debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the results of a meeting their representatives had with the prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and...
A cat passes by sleeping protesters at the Gezi Park of the Taksim Square in Istanbul early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters held on Friday debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the...   (Thanassis Stavrakis)
Protesters sit on the steps of Gezi Park of Taksim Square in Istanbul, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters will press on with their sit-in at an Istanbul park, an activist said Saturday, defying government appeals and a warning from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the two-week standoff that has...
Protesters sit on the steps of Gezi Park of Taksim Square in Istanbul, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters will press on with their sit-in at an Istanbul park, an activist said Saturday, defying government...   (Thanassis Stavrakis)
A Turkish riot policeman holds a weapon while standing  in Taksim square  in Istanbul, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters will press on with their sit-in at an Istanbul park, an activist said Saturday, defying government appeals and a warning from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the two-week standoff that...
A Turkish riot policeman holds a weapon while standing in Taksim square in Istanbul, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters will press on with their sit-in at an Istanbul park, an activist said Saturday,...   (Vadim Ghirda)
Turkish riot policeman walk, in Taksim square in Istanbul.
Turkish riot policeman walk, in Taksim square in Istanbul.   (Vadim Ghirda)
People light candles for the victims of the protests at Taksim square, in Istanbul, early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters were holding debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the results of a meeting with the prime minister and whether his proposal was enough for them to end...
People light candles for the victims of the protests at Taksim square, in Istanbul, early Saturday, June 15, 2013. Protesters were holding debates in several locations in Gezi Park to discuss the results...   (Vadim Ghirda)
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