Anti-government protests erupt at Istanbul’s Taksim Square

Turks participate in an anti-government festival called “Man Made of Tear Gas” held on the shores of the Kadıkoy district on the Asian side of Istanbul on July 7, 2013.

Fresh anti-government demonstrations have erupted at the iconic Taksim Square in the Turkish port city of Istanbul, with protesters chanting slogans and calling on the government to resign.

Protesters gathered on Saturday to march on Gezi Park, which has been the epicenter of anti-government demonstrations for several weeks.

Police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse protesters.

The demonstrations came in response to a government-sponsored law banning architects and engineers who took part in protests from getting involved in city planning.

Demonstrations erupted in late May after police broke up a sit-in at Istanbul’s Taksim Square in protest against a proposal to demolish Gezi Park.

The violence turned into nationwide demonstrations against the ruling Justice and Development Party and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with police using water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets against demonstrators.

Erdogan, whose government is the main target of protests, has described the demonstrators as foreign-backed extremists and terrorists.

Five people have been killed and thousands more injured in the violent crackdown on peaceful protesters. Hundreds of activists have also been arrested.

The Turkish prime minister has faced international condemnation for his handling of the crisis. Turkish police have been also strongly criticized for using excessive force against the peaceful protests.

On July 6, the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muiznieks called for an investigation into Turkey’s excessive use of police force against anti-government protesters.

By Press TV

 

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