Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Taksim Cleared

Taksim Square is largely clear this morning after a night like this:
Riot police fired tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets in day-long clashes that lasted into the early hours Wednesday, battling protesters who have been occupying Istanbul's central Taksim Square and its adjacent Gezi Park in the country's most severe anti-government protests in decades...
Thousands of police moved in early Tuesday, pushing past improvised barricades set up by the protesters who have swarmed through the massive square and park in the tens of thousands for the past 12 days...
Police fired repeated rounds of tear gas that rose in stinging plumes of acrid smoke from the square in running battles with groups of protesters hurling fireworks, bottles, rocks and firebombs in a cat-and-mouse game that lasted through the day and into the night.
More than 30,000 converged on the square again as dusk fell and were repelled by water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas after Istanbul's governor, Huseyin Avni Mutlu, said the police came under attack from "marginal groups."
It seems clear that Erdogan's proposed meeting with selected protest leaders is almost exclusively about protecting his image with weaker voters in his coalition while trying to portray the demonstrators as unreasonable.  There may also be an element of trying to divide the protestors, isolating a hypothetical group focused just on the park from the larger anti-government movement which has appeared.



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