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Protests fizzle out in Turkey despite strike call

Protests fizzle out in Turkey despite strike call
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Several hundred striking trade unionists and leftist groups marched in Istanbul on Monday in support of the Gezi park protesters. They attempted to enter Taksim square, but were forced back by police and the crowd was dispersed when the police used rubber bullets and water cannons.

But it was nothing like the violence over the weekend that saw Gezi park cleared of its tents, and hundreds of arrests and injuries. Although the unions’ call for strike action mobilised hundreds of thousands across the country, the prime minister may have ridden out the storm.

“This small-scoped social action in Turkey was not read correctly so it was likened to social actions in North Africa and the Middle East. Some who pretended to be friends have showed how insincere and how artificial they were immediately,” said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The weekend also saw hundreds of thousands turn out in rallies to support their prime minister, whose support from the conservative rural electorate remains solid.

Meanwhile trees are being planted in Gezi park, and the surroundings are being cleared of debris from the 18 days of protests.