June 1 - Demonstrations against a government redevelopment plan in Istanbul broaden into nation-wide anti-government protests amidst violent clashes. Tom Dinham reports.
Protesters throw missiles at police around Istanbul's Taksim Square in some of the fiercest clashes Turkey has seen in recent years. The sit-in at Taksim's Gezi Park started late last Monday after trees were felled as part of a government redevelopment plan. The movement has since widened into a broader national protest against the administration of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan. The demonstrations turned violent on Friday, however, after a police raid on the sit-in. Police fired tear gas and water cannon in central Istanbul, wounding scores of people and leading to accusations of police brutality. Protests erupted in the capital Ankara and the Aegean coastal city of Izmir late on Friday. Nearly a thousand people marched across Istanbul's Bosphorus Bridge from the Asian side of the city to support the anti-government protests on Saturday Erdogan remains one of Turkey's most popular politicians but recent polls suggest he could face some public resistance in achieving his goal of becoming the country's executive president in 2014. Many accuse him of authoritarianism and a lack of respect for human rights.