Turkish riot police fired water cannon to clear thousands of protesters from Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Saturday, the first such confrontation there in nearly a week, Today’s Zaman reports.
People living around the square banged pots and pans, a sign of solidarity with protesters throughout more than three weeks of unrest in Istanbul and other cities across Turkey. Demonstrators shouted “Police, don’t betray your people!”.
The square has been the cradle of protests triggered when police used force to remove a group of environmentalists opposed to government plans to develop Gezi Park, a green space in central Istanbul which adjoins Taksim.
But they turned into a much broader show of dissent against the government and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, who opponents say is an authoritarian leader who is increasingly meddling in their everyday lives.
Erdoğan, who has overseen an economic boom during his 10 years in charge, sees himself as a champion of democracy and has been riled by the show of dissent.