Turkey protests rage for third consecutive day

  • Thousands of people returned to the streets of Turkey's four major cities on Sunday as anti-government protests continued for a third consecutive day.

    Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has blamed the main secular opposition party for encouraging the protests, which he claims are a bid to steer voters away from his ruling AK Party ahead of next year’s elections.

    Clashes took place between police and demonstrators near Erdogan's office in Istanbul.

    Several groups of protesters wearing balaclavas were seen hurling rocks towards the office.

    In contrast, the atmosphere in Istanbul's Taksim Square was more cheerful with some calling on Erdogan to resign and others singing and dancing.

    Elsewhere, police were forced to resort to tear gas to disperse hundreds of people in Ankara's Kizilay Square.

    Similar scenes occurred in Izmir and Adana, Turkey's third and fourth biggest cities.

    The unrest kicked off on Friday after trees were torn down at a park in Istanbul's main Taksim Square under government plans to redevelop the area.

    It later developed into a protest against the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP).

    Erdogan has maintained that plans to revamp the square, long viewed as a meeting point for mass demonstrations, would go ahead.

    The redevelopment includes the construction of a new mosque and the rebuilding of replica Ottoman-era barracks.

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