On Saturday night in Istanbul police and protesters clashed in the working class neighbourhood of Gazi on the ninth day of civil unrest. A few kilometres away tens of thousands thronged to a mass peaceful protest in Taksim square. Rival football fans from the city’s three main football clubs marched together to the square with chants of “Tayyip resign” and “Arm in arm against facism”.
In Ankara police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse around five thousand protesters in the centre of the city. They defied Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s call for an immediate end to the anti-government demonstrations by blocking traffic, burning bonfires and attacking water cannon vehicles in the streets around Kizilay square.
Senior officials from the prime minister’s AK party said they had discussed calling a rally of their supporters in Istanbul or Ankara next week though added no decision had been taken.
But one decision has been reached. Early elections have been ruled out with the local and presidential polls to be held as planned next year and a general election in 2015.
“Elections are not held because people are marching on the streets,” the party’s deputy chairman told reporters.