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Thousands Welcome Back Turkish PM, Protests Continue

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is demanding that weeklong protests against his conservative government end immediately.

Thousands of his supporters packed Istanbul's airport to welcome back the prime minister, who has been in North Africa all week. He says the demonstrations border on illegality, and has accused the marchers of walking hand-in-hand with terrorists.

Protesters marched again Thursday in Istanbul and Ankara, demanding that Mr. Erdogan resign. They accuse him of imposing his conservative Islamic views on a secular nation.

The protests were sparked last week by government plans to tear down a public park in Istanbul for new construction. The prime minister has so far refused to scrap those plans.

Police have used tear gas and water cannons on the marchers. At least two people have been killed, thousands hurt, and thousands of others arrested.

The government has apologized for the use of force. But the protesters have demanded freedom for all those who have been jailed.

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