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Istanbul Police Use Water Cannons, Tear Gas Against Protesters

  • VOA News

Turkish riot police use water cannons against protesters during a demonstration against the ruling Ak Party and Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, in Istanbul, Dec. 22, 2013.
Turkish police fired water cannons and tear gas in Istanbul Sunday to disperse thousands of people protesting against the government's urbanization plans and a corruption scandal in which scores of people, including sons of Cabinet ministers, have been arrested.

The protesters gathered in the city's Kadikoy Square and called for the resignation of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Justice and Development Party government.

Erdogan has denounced the corruption inquiry as the work of "dark alliances" and has vowed to expose those involved. He has responded to the probe with a purge in the police force, dismissing police officials for cooperating with the investigation without permission.

Ambitious urban development projects led by Erdogan, a former Istanbul mayor, were one cause of massive anti-government protests in June sparked by a police crackdown on a peaceful sit-in against plans to demolish a park in Istanbul.

At least six people died and 8,000 were hurt in three weeks of nationwide demonstrations against Erdogan's government.