Saturday, June 1, 2013

Turkish PM calls for end to protests as clashes flare

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called for an immediate end on Saturday to the fiercest anti-government demonstrations for years, as thousands of protesters clashed with riot police in Istanbul and Ankara for a second day.

The unrest was triggered by government plans for a replica Ottoman-era barracks housing shops or apartments in Istanbul's Taksim Square, long a venue for political protest, but has widened into a broader show of defiance against Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Police fired teargas and water cannon down a major shopping street as crowds of protesters chanting "unite against fascism" and "government resign" marched towards Taksim, where hundreds were injured in clashes on Friday.