Turkish police fire teargas, drive thousands from Taksim Square

Published: Updated:
Enable Read mode
100% Font Size

Turkish riot police fired volleys of teargas canisters into Istanbul's Taksim Square on Tuesday, which is the centre of protests against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, driving thousands into narrow side streets, witnesses told Reuters.

Police and water cannon vehicles advanced across the square, entirely clearing the north side after a day of skirmishes that had defied the authorities' efforts to restore full control, Reuters reported.

In a live broadcast of the square on Al Arabiya TV, police surrounded protesters and amassed in nearby areas.

The square has been the scene of violent clashes between police and protesters.

As violence raged in Taksim Square, Istanbul’s mayor said riot police would continue to battle protestors until the square is cleared.

“We will continue our measures in an unremitting manner, whether day or night, until marginal elements are cleared and the square is open to the people,” Mayor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said in a brief television announcement, reported Reuters.

This comes after Erdogan called on protesters to withdraw from central Istanbul’s Gezi Park and added the wave of anti-government demonstrations were an attempt to damage Turkey’s economy and international image.

“I invite them to withdraw from the park and I ask this as prime minister,” Erdogan told a parliamentary group meeting of his AK Party, according to Reuters.

“The Turkish economy has been targeted through these events... Efforts to distort Turkey’s image have been put in place as part of a systematic plan.

Amid the events Erdogan said three protesters and one police officer had been killed in nearly two weeks of nationwide unrest against his Islamic-rooted government.

“Three youngsters and one policeman have lost their lives in the events,” the premier told lawmakers in televised remarks. Turkey’s national doctors’ union has so far put the toll at three dead.

Turkish riot police fired tear gas in the center of Ankara on Monday night to disperse hundreds against Islamic-rooted government, AFP news agency reported.

(With Reuters and AFP)

Top Content Trending