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Turkish police shut Istanbul park to pre-empt protests one year after unrest

May 31, 2014 16:30

ISTANBUL - Turkish police on Saturday shut Gezi Park, the Istanbul square at the center of mass demonstrations in 2013, to prevent any efforts to mark the anniversary of the biggest anti-government protests in decades.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who was the target of many protesters' ire last year, warned people to stay out of Taksim Square, which adjoins the park, saying security forces would do whatever is necessary to keep the area clear.

Riot police circled the perimeter of Gezi, and hundreds of plainclothes officers carrying batons patrolled Istiklal, a major shopping street that leads to Taksim as well as a popular tourist spot.

There was no sign of unrest at midday. Taksim Solidarity, one of the main organizers of last year's protest movement, called for a rally at Taksim at 7 p.m. (1600 GMT).

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