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Turkish Police Clear Taksim Square

  • VOA News

Turkish riot police take up position in Taksim Square in Istanbul June 12, 2013.
Turkish riot police have cleared protesters from Istanbul's central square, following a night of clashes between the two sides.

The police operation follows nearly two weeks of demonstrations in Taksim Square that began when protesters were determined to stop authorities from tearing up a public park next to the square for a new building.

They have also demanded Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's resignation, accusing him of imposing his conservative Islamist views on a secular nation.

On Tuesday, riot police fired tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons at the protesters in Taksim Square in clashes that lasted until early Wednesday.

The prime minister plans to meet with some of the demonstrators Wednesday, but he has accused them of deliberately trying to damage Turkey's image and economy.

He says the protesters are "trying to prevent Turkey's rise and are being used by financial institutions and media groups to harm Turkey's economy.

Three people have died since the protests began almost two weeks ago. About 5,000 people have been hurt and thousands of others arrested.

Police also fired fired water cannons Tuesday to disperse protesters in Ankara, the capital, who had gathered in sympathy with their Istanbul counterparts.

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