Turkey unrest into its 4th day
THOUSANDS of demonstrators in Istanbul smashed and overturned police cars and other vehicles overnight, using the wreckage to scrawl graffiti or seek shelter as violent anti-government protests entered a fourth day.
"From now on, the people will be taken into account," said Mr Cemil Ardic, 30, as he sat in the driver's seat of a ruined police car in Taksim Square yesterday, while fellow protesters slept inside an abandoned police minibus.
Protesters in Istanbul said they're reacting to oppression by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government, including limits on alcohol sales and marketing last week, refusal to allow labour unions to rally on May Day, and the jailing of hundreds of military officers, academics, journalists and lawyers on charges of attempting to overthrow the government.
The protests, which began over a government project to redevelop a park near Taksim Square in central Istanbul, have spread to dozens of Turkish cities as the police crackdowns fuel further anger.
More than 90 protests took place in 48 cities, leaving 53 citizens and 26 police officers injured, Interior Minister Muammer Guler said.
Mr Erdogan has called for an immediate end to the latest protests, and said his government would investigate allegations of the police having used excessive force. But he remained defiant.
"If this is about holding meetings, if this is a social movement, where they gather 20, I will get up and gather 200,000 people. Where they gather 100,000, I will bring together one million from my party," he said in a televised speech.