The storming by Turkish police of Taksim Square in Istanbul has been condemned by anti-government protesters who had been there for nearly a fortnight. As they were forced out, bulldozers moved in to begin the clear-up of tents and banners.
For some demonstrators, the reaction of the authorities does not bode well.
“The government and the state want to say this to us: ‘Our word will prevail under any conditions’. But here our demand is perfectly legitimate: we want to protect the environment. But they respond to everything with force. If this continues like this our response will also continue and will grow,” said one man.
Some protesters have moved to nearby Gezi Park. A male protester there, wearing a gas mask, said: “If the state wants to remove us with tanks and heavy vehicles they can do so. But many people will suffer. If they want to do this then they will see fierce resistance here.”
The Istanbul authorities have said they intend to leave Gezi Park alone. But the prime minister has said starkly that “the park is for promenades, not occupation”.
Euronews correspondent Bora Bayraktar reporting from Taksim Square said: “Police re-took control of the square after nearly two weeks of protests. The Istanbul authorities’ aim is to contain the demos in Gezi Park. Will the tension diminish in Turkey after this intervention? We will see in the coming days.”
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