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Turkish Riot Police Move to Quash Protests

Turkish riot police stormed a central Istanbul square and a nearby park Saturday, firing tear gas and water cannon to drive protesters out.

The action came just hours after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned that security forces "know how to clear'' the area.

The prime minister lashed out at what he called the "plot'' behind the biggest street protests in his 10 years in power.

Lines of police backed by armored vehicles sealed off Taksim Square as officers stormed the adjoining Gezi Park.

The panicked protesters fled to the side streets, pledging to return to the square and park.

The protest, which began over the prime minister's plan to turn the park into a mall, has evolved into anti-government demonstrations that have spread across the country.



On Friday, the prime minister told protesters he would put redevelopment plans for the park on hold until a court rules on them, and hold a referendum if the court rules in the government's favor.

Despite his promise, hundreds of protesters flocked to the streets in Ankara to demonstrate against the ruling AK Party. Police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse them.

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