Foreign Office Warning Over Turkey Protests
The initial protests were triggered by the heavy-handed tactics of police trying to break-up a peaceful sit-in at Gezi Park in Taksim square on Friday. The protesters were campaigning against a redevelopment project for the park that is designed to reduce congestion in the square - but would involve trees being uprooted.
The unrest soon escalated and became focused on what protesters view as an increasingly Islamist government, spreading to several other Turkish cities.
A human rights group said hundreds of people were injured in scuffles with police that lasted overnight on Friday and into Saturday and that hundreds of people had been arrested.
There were reports that police dropped tear gas canisters from helicopters onto protesters.
A group of around 500 people waving Turkish flags, most of whom were young, marched on the square in Istanbul on Saturday. Chanting “unite against fascism” and “government resign”, they were blocked by a heavy police presence on the bridge, driving them back with water canon and a thick wall of tear gas.
Some protesters threw rocks at the police, while several tourists - including an Egyptian who was seriously injured after being hit by a tear-gas canister - were caught in the clashes. One witness reported that as many as 40,000 people had gathered near the bridge that connects the Asian and European shores of the city.