79 people injured in Turkey protest, 900 arrested

79 people injured in Turkey protest, 900 arrested
Sun Jun 2, 2013 11:18:54

Turkish police have arrested more than 900 people, while 79 were injured during two days of protests, the most sustained anti-government outburst for years.

Protests grew out of anger at police crackdown on a peaceful sit-in by people trying to protect a park in Istanbul's main Taksim square on Friday.

Riot police pulled back on Saturday after being accused of heavyhanded tactics, but there were fresh clashes near the offices of the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the capital Ankara.

Riot police with electric shock batons chased stone-throwing demonstrators into side streets and shops in the Kizilay district.

There were also protests in the Aegean coastal city Izmir.

During the day, crowds of protesters in Istanbul chanting "shoulder to shoulder against fascism" and "government resign" marched on Taksim Square in one of the largest demonstrations against Erdogan's government.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler said some of those people arrested had since been released; others would be put on trial.

He said 26 police officers and 53 civilians had been hurt, one of them seriously.

Clashes also raged on during the night, with thousands marching through Turkey's largest city against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

What began as disquiet over a development project in Istanbul has escalated into widespread anger against what critics say is the government's increasingly conservative and authoritarian agenda.

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