Turkish riot police have retaken control of Istanbul’s Taksim Square.
The battle to end nearly two weeks of anti-government protests began early on Tuesday morning as bulldozers moved in to remove barricades.
Soon after, police armoured vehicles fired tear gas and water cannons at protesters, some of whom were armed with rocks and petrol bombs.
The move came a day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to meet protest leaders, whose peaceful demonstrations over government redevelopment plans of a park grew into wider anti-authority protests.
But some demonstrators on the ground formed a human chain amid claims they were the protests’ real representatives – and they had been excluded from those peace talks.
The police crackdown also extended to a prominent lawyer’s group based in Istanbul whose members came out in support of the Taksim Square protesters.
At least 70 people are said to have been detained and there have been fresh reports of further police brutality.
Turkey’s Medical Association said that as of late Monday, 4,947 people had sought treatment in hospitals and voluntary infirmaries for injuries, ranging from cuts and burns to breathing difficulties from tear gas inhalation, since the unrest began.
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