Police withdraw from Istanbul square, protesters claim victory
Tear gas surrounds a protestor holding a Turkish flag with a portrait of the founder of modern Turkey Mustafa Kemal Ataturk as he takes part in a demonstration in support of protests in Istanbul in Ankara on Saturday
Click here to add Ankara as an alert
Disable alert for Ankara,
Click here to add Erdogan as an alert
Disable alert for Erdogan,
Click here to add İstanbul as an alert
Disable alert for İstanbul,
Click here to add Istanbul office of Prime Minister Erdogan as an alert
Disable alert for Istanbul office of Prime M ...,
Click here to add Ottoman army as an alert
Disable alert for Ottoman army,
Click here to add Recep Tayyip as an alert
Disable alert for Recep Tayyip,
Click here to add Recep Tayyip Erdogan as an alert
Disable alert for Recep Tayyip Erdogan,
Click here to add Turkish police as an alert
Disable alert for Turkish police
Turkish police withdrew early Sunday from Istanbul’s Taksim Square, at the center of one of the largest demonstrations against Turkey’s Islamist-rooted government, while protesters began celebrating victory.
The protesters danced and sang in the square after the police pull-back, some even launching fireworks in celebration, according to AFP news agency.
But “despite a festive atmosphere in Taksim (following the police withdrawal), clashes broke out again just a few kilometers away close to Beşiktaş, where the Istanbul Office of Prime Minister Erdogan is located,” according to Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News.
“According to witnesses, the police forces, despite withdrawing, fired back a tear gas salvo at protesters in the İstiklal Avenue, Harbiye and Beşiktaş connections to Taksim Square,” the report added,
The protest left hundreds injured according to Amnesty International, which also said some protesters had been left blinded by the tear gas used by police.
“Government, resign!” protesters shouted as the police retreated.
“We are here Tayyip, where are you?” they chanted, taunting Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Since the first clashes on Friday, the unrest has spread to other cities across the country.
On Saturday, police in Ankara blocked a group of demonstrators from marching on parliament and the prime minister’s office.
Erdogan on Saturday vowed to press ahead with the controversial plan redevelop Istanbul’s Taksim Square despite the unrest.
Officials say the redevelopment includes building a shopping mall and the reconstruction of a former Ottoman army barracks.“We will rebuild the (Ottoman era military) barracks,” Erdogan said, though he added it was not clear whether the new site would then function as a shopping mall, as feared by the protesters.
But he added: “I call on the protesters to stop their demonstrations immediately.”
“It is true that there have been some mistakes, extremism in police response,” Erdogan added.
Police made 939 arrests, the interior minister said late Saturday, in more than 90 separate demonstrations around Turkey.