World News

Erdogan Defiant as Protesters Rally

Turkey's prime minister continued to defiantly rally supporters Sunday after 10 days of anti-government unrest, as protesters continued their demonstrations against his administration's plans to redevelop a central Istanbul square.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan told thousands of cheering supporters at Ankara's airport that his patience had its limits after days of protests, while tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators gathered at a rival rally in central Istanbul.

Earlier, in the southern city of Adana, where pro- and anti-government protesters clashed Saturday, Mr. Erdogan gave a fiery speech from the top of a bus.

He urged supporters of his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development party to avoid violence themselves and use local elections next March to "teach a lesson" to opponents whose mass protests have rocked the country. The party Saturday rejected protesters' calls for early elections.

Mr. Erdogan condemned the demonstrators as "a handful of looters."

Meanwhile, organizers of the initial protests in Taksim Square repeated their call to drop redevelopment plans, police use of teargas to be banned, those responsible for police violence to be dismissed, and bans on demonstrations to be lifted.



Turkish police in Ankara and Istanbul fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse thousands of protesters early Sunday.

Saturday in the capital, protesters slowly moved closer to the U.S. embassy, burning barricades nearby as clashes broke out with police.

In Istanbul, thousands of demonstrators continue to occupy the city's central Taksim Square, marching, chanting and raising signs that call for the prime minister to step down. Protest-related violence has killed at least three people and wounded thousands since the demonstrations began.

The protests were sparked more than a week ago by government plans to tear down a public park in Istanbul for new retail construction. Mr. Erdogan has refused to scrap those plans.

Demonstrations have taken place in major Turkish cities in response to what a growing number of Turks see as Mr. Erdogan's authoritarian government.

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