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Clashes and tension in Istanbul

Clashes and tension in Istanbul
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In Istanbul there have been sporadic clashes as riot police fired, tear gas and turned water cannon on protesters. The roads into Taksim square have been blocked blocked.

Around 1,000 extra riot police have been flown into the city from the country’s provinces while a spokesman for the protesters vowed the group would retake Gezi Park.

It had been the demonstrators heartland. The ramshackle tents have been bulldozed away and the cleaning up operation goes on. Municipal workers have been planting flowers while in contrast a strong police presence maintained security cordons after prime minister Tayyip Erdogan had sent in his security forces to evacuate the area. The action failed to quell the defiance.

“We are not afraid, we are not afraid. We want that dictator prime minister to leave,” said one woman.

In the capital Ankara the unrest grew. On Sunday morning thousands of anti-government protesters took to the streets to show their support for those in Istanbul.

The government reacted by saying the demonstrators are being manipulated by illegal groups seeking to sow instability.

The Confederation of Public Workers Unions has called for a nationwide strike on Monday.