Thousands Protest in Istanbul

    A man falls as riot police use tear gas and pressurized water to quash a peaceful demonstration by hundreds of people staging a sit-in protest to try and prevent the demolition of trees at an Istanbul park, Turkey, Friday, May 31, 2013. A number of protesters were injured. Police moved in at dawn Friday to disperse the crowd on the fourth day of the protest against a contentious government plan to revamp Istanbulís main square, Taksim. The protesters are demanding that the squareís park, Gezi, is protected. (AP Photo)


    Clashes between protesters and police raged for the second day in a row in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, with bottles and tear-gas shells being thrown back and forth between the two. Demonstrators took to the street initially to protest the government’s decision to replace Taksim’s Gezi Park with a shopping mall. Friday, the clash between police and protesters went from antagonistic to violent. “I’ve been in the protests since yesterday afternoon; it’s been a long couple of days for us,” said a 31-year-old musician wearing a mask to protect against tear gas. “Now we’re protesting not because of some trees, but because we’re sick of this oppression and this police brutality against people.” Turkey’s prime minister said the police’s use of excessive force will be investigated, but he also decried the protests as “dishonest” and motivated by “dark figures linked to terrorism.” In a televised speech he said, “The police were there yesterday, are there today and will be there tomorrow, because Taksim cannot be a square where extremists run wild.”

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