Turkish police pulled back from Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Saturday afternoon, allowing tens of thousands of demonstrators to flood in after days of violent protests.
A peaceful rally to save the city’s Gezi Park, located close to Taksim, has escalated into fierce anti-government activism.
Among the protesters, there was anger at police use of pepper spray and tear gas to control the crowds.
An activist told euronews: “We say to police and all other security forces that this pepper is great! They should keep spraying it into our faces and onto our bodies. But they shouldn’t touch our park!”
Another protester was angry at a perceived lack of coverage by Turkish media, saying: “Our parents don’t know what we are gong through here. Cowardly media should come here!’‘
Demonstrations were also held in the Turkish capital Ankara and other cities including Bodrum, Konya and Izmir.
Turkey’s Interior ministry said more than 939 people had been detained by police in protests throughout the country, although some had subsequently been released.