ISTANBUL | Turkish riot police using tear gas and water cannons battled protesters for control of Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Tuesday night, hours after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan demanded an immediate end to 10 days of demonstrations.
The governor of Istanbul went on television to declare that police operations would continue day and night until the square, focus of demonstrations against Erdogan, was cleared.
Police fired volleys of tear gas canisters into a crowd of thousands – people in office clothes as well as youths in masks who had fought skirmishes throughout the day – scattering them into side streets and nearby hotels. Water cannons swept across the square targeting stone-throwers in masks.
The protesters, who accuse Erdogan of overreaching his authority after 10 years in power and three election victories, thronged the steep narrow lanes that lead down to the Bosphorus waterway. Gradually, many began drifting back into the square as police withdrew, and gathered around a bonfire of rubbish.
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