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Europe

In pictures: Clashes rage for second day in Turkey

© AFP

Video by Luke SHRAGO

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-06-01

Anti-government demonstrations in Istanbul entered a second day on Saturday and spread to a number of other Turkish cities after police used tear gas and water cannon to break up a sit-in at Taksim Square on Friday.

Fierce anti-government protests in Turkey continued for a second consecutive day on Saturday, with demonstrations spreading to several cities around the country and leading to violent clashes with police.

The protests were sparked by what had begun as a peaceful sit-in at Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square on Monday, aimed at preventing a planned major construction project which would see the uprooting of a number of trees in the square’s Gezi Park.

But as the sit-in ran into a fourth day, Turkish police Friday decided to take action, using tear gas and water cannon in a dawn raid to disperse the protesters, injuring scores in the process.

The violent break-up of the sit-in sparked a furious anti-government protest that took over the city’s main square and continued into Saturday morning.

There were also reports of demonstrations spreading to other cities across the country, with protesters expressing anger at the perceived brutality of police and a general dissatisfaction with the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Some 5,000 people gathered at a park in the capital, Ankara, swelling into a busy street nearby, chanting anti-government slogans and calling on Erdogan to resign.

Police used tear gas to push back a group that tried to march toward the Parliament building.

Protests were also held in a dozen other cities, including one that drew thousands in the third-largest city of Izmir, reports said.

Meanwhile, rights groups have condemned the harsh methods used by the Turkish authorities in dealing with the protesters, with Amnesty International deploring what it called Turkish police brutality and said some officers should be brought to justice.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-06-01

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