June 12, 2013
Turkish anti-government protesters continue to camp at Istanbul’s Gezi Park despite a fierce crackdown by the riot police.
Protest leaders canceled plans Wednesday to meet with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, saying the previous night’s violence in Istanbul’s Taksim Square and Gezi Park showed talks would be fruitless.
Riot police used massive amounts of tear gas, water cannons and stun guns to break up protesters’ large-scale demonstration Tuesday night.
The anti-government protests have now spread across the country. The demonstrators are calling for the resignation of Erdogan.
The unrest began on May 31 after the police broke up a sit-in held at Taksim Square to protest against a proposal to demolish Gezi Park.
Over the next 12 days, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters held demonstrations in 78 cities across the country.
According to the Turkish Human Rights Foundation, four people have died, including a policeman, and about 5,000 people have been injured in the protests.
Erdogan has said there will be no tolerance of people he accuses of ‘seeking to harm Turkey’ but he has been harshly criticized for the way he has handled the crisis, and Amnesty International has also censured the Turkish police for using excessive force against peaceful protesters.