Istanbul: Turkish riot police used tear gas and water cannon in a dawn raid Friday to end a peaceful sit-in by hundreds of people trying to prevent trees from being uprooted at an Istanbul park. The move ignited furious protests and clashes that injured at least 12 people.
The protesters were demanding the square's Gezi Park be protected from plans that include the construction of a shopping mall. Many also aired grievances against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted government, which has been seen as displaying increasingly authoritarian tendencies in its third successive term.
Protesters in Gezi Park held up a large poster Friday with a caricature depicting Erdogan as an Ottoman sultan with a caption that read: "The people won't yield to you."
Erdogan dismissed the protesters' demands, saying the government would go ahead with the renovation plans "no matter what they do."
The dawn raid was the latest in a series of aggressive crackdown on protests. Human rights activists frequently accuse Turkish police of using inordinate force to break up protests and of excessively using tear gas and pepper spray against protesters.
Sources: Canankk RezzanATAKOL NDTV www.ndtv.com/article/world/tur… Occupygezi occupygezipics.tumblr.com/