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Police, Protesters Clash as Turkey Protests Continue

  • VOA News

Police in Turkey have used tear gas and water cannons on protesters who continue to gather to speak out against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The protests that began last Friday persist with calls for Erdogan to resign, as critics accuse him of governing with an authoritarian style and imposing his Islamic views on a secular nation.

The latest clashes happened Wednesday in Istanbul and Ankara with police in riot gear confronting demonstrators, some of whom responded by throwing stones.

Turkish leaders have tried to calm the situation, while the country's allies urged both authorities and protesters to keep the assemblies peaceful.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said late Tuesday the violence has raised concerns around the world, and that only Turks can solve the underlying problems.

He highlighted U.S. support for the freedom of assembly and the press, and said the most powerful countries will be the ones with open societies and political systems.

Earlier Tuesday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said it was wrong to use "excessive force" against demonstrators, and the government has "learned its lesson." But he refused to apologize to those he says have destroyed property and interfered with people's freedom.

Two people have died and hundreds of police and civilians have been injured since the protests began as a sit-in against plans to tear down a public park in Istanbul.

Erdogan has dismissed the protests as bitterness by the opposition over lost elections. He said the protesters are walking arm-in-arm with terrorists and that they have no support among most Turks.