Ankara protesters clash with Turkish police

Anti-government protests in Turkey show no sign of diminishing

Police in the Turkish capital Ankara have used tear gas and water cannon on demonstrators as anti-government protests continue.

About 5,000 people had gathered in Kizilay Square in the city centre. Protesters and police also clashed in Istanbul, Turkey's largest city.

Turkey has had more than a week of unrest sparked by a police crackdown on a local protest over an Istanbul park.

Earlier, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ruled out early elections.

"You don't decide on early elections because people are marching on the streets," he said.

Local and presidential elections would take place next year as scheduled, said an official from Mr Erdogan's governing AKP (Justice and Development Party). A general election is due in 2015.

The AKP has been in power in Turkey since 2002. Protesters say the government is becoming increasingly authoritarian and imposing Islamist values on a secular state.

In Istanbul, supporters of three rival football clubs - Fenerbahce, Galatasaray and Besiktas - set aside their differences to march together to Taksim Square, the epicentre of the protests.

"We're here against fascism, all together, shoulder to shoulder. Actually we should be thanking Tayyip Erdogan for bringing us together. He united the entire country [against him]," an unnamed Fenerbahce supporter told the Associated Press.

Protester in Ankara with Kemal Ataturk flag (8 June) In Ankara, protesters waved flags bearing the image of the founder of modern Turkey, Kemal Ataturk
Demonstrators face police water cannon in Ankara (8 June) Police used water cannon to disperse the crowd of about 5,000 who had gathered in Ankara's Kizilay Square
Marchers in Istanbul (8 June) In Istanbul, thousands marched to Taksim Square on the ninth day since a police crackdown on demonstrations
Taksim Square, Istanbul (8 June) This was the scene in Taksim Square early on Saturday evening
Flag in Taksim Square (8 June) The protesters see Mr Erdogan as authoritarian
Fenerbahce supporters in Taksim Square (8 June) Supporters of Fenerbahce football club used an overturned car as a barricade at Taksim Square

The protests mushroomed after police cracked down on activists defending an Istanbul park from developers.

Mr Erdogan has called the protests undemocratic but his deputy apologised for police violence and met representatives of the protesters.

On Thursday night, thousands of people waited at the airport to welcome Mr Erdogan home from a North African visit - the first major show of support for him since the protests began.

The prime minister has vowed to push ahead with the redevelopment of Gezi Park, a rare green space in Istanbul's densely built-up core.

Police and riot vehicles withdrew from Taksim Square last Saturday in an apparent bid to reduce tension.

However, clashes have broken out since then in other parts of Istanbul.

Four people - including a police officer - are reported to have died, thousands have been injured and hundreds arrested in the unrest which began on 31 May.

More on This Story

More Europe stories

RSS

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.