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A Sunday of rallies in Istanbul as Taksim protest continues

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A Sunday of rallies in Istanbul as Taksim protest continues
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There were no signs of protesters in Taksim square in central Istanbul heeding their prime minister this Sunday.

Many appear ready for the long haul in this protest, which began as a bid to save some precious green space from overdevelopment, but has since mushroomed into a national protest against a government seen as too authoritarian after a decade in power.

“People have met under a beautiful umbrella. We have united not only against the state. Everybody here wants their freedom and I believe that with this solidarity everybody will win the freedom that they deserve,” said one of the Taksim occupiers.

“Everything is going worse. I think because Erdogan’s speech is always with anger, with hate or something. He is always emphasising anger against people,” said filmmaker Sidar Inan Ercelik.

Prime Minister Erdogan’s AK party met on Saturday to reject calls for early elections, and renew calls for the protesters to leave the square and disperse. But Turkey has seen its worst riots in decades spring from this protest and spread far beyond Istanbul.

Clashes continued there and in Ankara and other cities last night, and there is no sign of compromise on either side, with a rally planned for Taksim square this afternoon, while Erdogan’s supporters are massing at the airport to cheer on their man.