Taksim Square Cleaned of Protesters

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Taksim Square Cleaned of Protesters today, it looked sad after two weeks of anti-government protest in Turkey, the police took it by storm with tear gas and water cannons against the protesters.

“Police also fired tear gas against the volunteer doctors, the general secretary of the Turkish Medical Chamber Ali Cerkezoglu said via Twitter. “Turkey will live its darkest night if this attack lasts for more than one hour,” he also said in a televised interview.”

The protesters were discussing on Saturday whether to stand down after Erdogan had offered concessions but after the riot police took the Taksim Square they felt that the leader has destroyed all chances of negotiation.

On Saturday night, after about an hour of warning from Erdogan that Central Istanbul would be cleared by Sunday, security forces using loudspeakers told people to leave.

Hundreds of policemen wearing gas mask started to get into the park, using tear gas and water cannons to chase protesters out of the park.

Taksim Square sanitation workers quickly removed the soggy tents, banners and debris.

“More people will gather on the streets now,” Eyup Muhcu, one of the protest leaders who met Friday with Erdogan, said by telephone. “We had reached a great chance for dialogue. Now after this violence, he will never find a party to talk to.”

“I am putting it very clearly: Taksim Square is vacated or else,” Erdogan said. “If not, this country’s security forces know how to vacate.”

“Yes, I am afraid right now,” said Pinar Yuksel, 43, a choir director who was standing in packed Istiklal Street, just yards from the police battalion. “But I will stay here because I love my country.”

Security forces were using bulldozers to clear everything where protesters had been listening to a concert of folk music from Turkey’s revolutionary era.

“The park belongs to all Istanbul’s people,” Huseyin Celik, a spokesman for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, said on Haber Turk TV after Taksim Square and Gezi Park were cleared. “There’s a limit to patience.”

“It’s more than Gezi. This is an explosion of what people have accumulated against the government for 10 years,” said Ozlem Deneri, 28, a managerial assistant who was sipping tea in Gezi Park hours before the police invaded. “It has started from one tree and spread to the whole nation,” she said.

Taksim Square actions send the wrong message: “The Turkish government is sending the wrong message to the country and to Europe with its response to date to the protests,” German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said earlier in the week. He also described images of police cracking down on protesters as “disturbing.”

Written by Edgar Soto

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