Turkish Police Block Off Taksim After Street Battles Overnight - Bloomberg
Turkish police cordoned off Gezi Park and Taksim Square in central Istanbul after retaking it from protesters overnight as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan planned a mass rally of supporters in the city.
Clashes with anti-government protesters, who had set up a community of tents to occupy the park, extended into the early morning as police fired tear gas and water cannon to drive them out. Hundreds of municipal workers were today dismantling and removing tents and banners from the park, which became the center of turmoil that’s rocked Turkey since protests spread nationwide after May 31. Crowds gathered in Ankara, Izmir and other cities last night in support of the Taksim demonstrators, television footage showed.
The protests had begun in Gezi over plans to redevelop the park, and broadened into a wider movement targeting Erdogan’s government when images emerged of police tear-gassing a small group of demonstrators there. Security forces were stationed in every corner of the roads to Taksim today, gas masks and tear gas guns in hand. A municipal worker who said he’d been working to clean the park since late the previous evening collapsed into a chair and said the park would be closed to the public until order was restored, without saying how long that would be.