Groups gather in Turkish protest park after night of clashes

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July 9, 2013 14:34

 
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ISTANBUL - An Istanbul park at the center of protests against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government reopened on Tuesday after a night of clashes between police and protesters, but the mood among the small groups of visitors was calm.

On Monday night, police fired teargas and water cannon at protesters as they tried to prevent them gathering in Gezi Park, which had been sealed off by police for three weeks after police expelled the residents of a protest camp there.

A group of young men and women sat on Tuesday under a hand-painted banner in the park saying "Welcome to the Taksim martyrs' park, 1977-2013", referring to more than 30 people who died in clashes at a May Day protest in Taksim Square in 1977.

Another group placed marble tiles on the grass bearing the names of four people who died during Gezi-related clashes last month and the name of a Kurdish youth shot dead in a protest against military outposts in southeast Turkey.

Children played on swings and locals rested on grass reading newspapers under a hot sun. There was only a limited police presence at the edges of the park. 

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