Rioter throws stone in Istanbul protest 390.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
ISTANBUL - Turkish police fired teargas and water cannon for a second
day on Saturday to prevent hundreds of protesters reaching Istanbul's
central Taksim Square, scene of violent protests in which hundreds were injured on Friday.
demonstrators wearing handkerchiefs and surgical masks chanted "unite
against fascism" and "government resign" as they tried to march to
Taksim. Protesters also clashed with police in the Besiktas neighborhood
after crossing a bridge in another apparent attempt to reach the
The protest at Taksim's Gezi Park started late on Monday
after trees were torn up under a government redevelopment plan, but has
widened into a broader demonstration against what they say is the
authoritarianism of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his
Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).
close to 1,000 people were injured in the clashes in Istanbul on Friday,
the fiercest anti-government demonstrations for years. Half a dozen
lost eyes after being hit by gas canisters, the Turkish Doctors'
The US State Department said it was
concerned by the number of injuries while Amnesty International and the
European parliament raised concern about excessive use of police force.
Interior Minister Muammer Guler said allegations that police had used
disproportionate force would be investigated.
Protests erupted in
the capital Ankara and the Aegean coastal city of Izmir late on Friday
and there were calls on social media for similar demonstrations in more
than a dozen cities on Saturday.