Protests Continue Throughout Turkey

 

Cities throughout Turkey have seen increasing civil unrest over the past week, with Istanbul's Taksim Square remaining occupied over the weekend. 

According to CNN, demonstrators have maintained their occupation of the Square through Monday amid appeals from the government to abandon the rallies and return to work and school. Protests have been reported in 67 of Turkey's 81 provinces, according to Turkey's semi-official Andalou News Agency. Among them is Adana, where protester Cenker Kardesler said Sunday that police had "tried to corner the people."

What allegedly began as a small sit-in over the government's plan to demolish a park in central Istanbul in order to build a shopping arcade has grown into the biggest protest movement against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan since he was elected more than 10 years ago. Erdogan, who CNN describes as "defiant," has not shown any signs of giving in to their demands.

Police claim that protestors have responded to their demonstrations "with excessive force." While crowds Monday in Taksim Square were smaller and calmer than in recent days, police in Ankara brought in armored vehicles and fired tear gas at protesters chanting anti-government slogans in Kizilay Square. Demonstrators, in turn, set up a makeshift barricade and began throwing rocks at police. It was unclear if anyone was injured.

That episode followed clashes Sunday night between police and protesters in the Besiktas district of central Istanbul, about a mile away from Taksim Square, where the protests began.

In Izmir Sunday night, protesters set fire to the offices of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

There were no signs of security forces at Taksim Square Monday. Authorities abandoned the district on Saturday following 36 hours of vicious clashes and angry demonstrations against the government.

 

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