Erdogan warns protesters will pay as demos rage

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned protestors that they would "pay a price" for their unrelenting demonstrations against his government.

As riot police doused of thousands of protesters in the capital Ankara with tear gas and jets of water for a second straight night, Erdogan fired up supporters of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) with combative rhetoric in rallies across the country.

"Those who do not respect this nation's party in power will pay a price," he told thousands of cheering loyalists in Ankara, just a few kilometres (miles) from the clashes in downtown Kizilay Square, the latest violence in a second week of mass civil unrest.

"We remained patient, we are still patient but there's a limit to our patience," Erdogan said.
Tens of thousands of anti-government demonstrators stepped up their protests over the weekend, pouring into cities across the country including Istanbul, Ankara and the western city of Izmir.

Istanbul's Taksim Square, the symbolic heart of the protest movement, attracted some of the largest crowds yet, with people chanting "Erdogan, resign!" into the early hours in a festive atmosphere.

The unrest first erupted on May 31 with a tough police crackdown on a campaign to save Istanbul's Gezi Park, which borders Taksim Square, from demolition.

The trouble spiralled into nationwide displays of anger against Erdogan and his party, seen as increasingly authoritarian.

Nearly 5,000 demonstrators, scores of whom are young and middle-class, have been injured and three people have died in the trouble.

Taksim, which has seen no police presence for over a week, was much quieter Monday as demonstrators resumed their normal routines, though many vowed they would return.

Erdogan was to meet with government ministers in Ankara later Monday, with the crisis expected to top the agenda.