Sedat Suna / EPA

Turkish riot police use water cannon to disperse protesters during an anti-government protest at Taksim Square in Istanbul, Turkey, July 6, 2013.

Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters in an Istanbul square on Saturday as they gathered to enter a park that was the center of protests against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan last month.

The Taksim Solidarity Platform, combining an array of political groups, had called a march to enter the sealed off Gezi park, but the governor of Istanbul warned that any such gathering would be confronted by the police.

Riot police chased protesters into side streets in what appeared to be the biggest police intervention since the mid-June protests and riots that saw Taksim Square sealed off by makeshift barriers.

 

“We are here today to claim our park back. It was supposed to be open tonight. They (authorities) called us occupiers, but the park has been occupied by the state for weeks now,” said 41-year-old web designer Asim Elci.

Protesters chanted “Together against fascism” and “Everywhere is resistance.”

Witnesses said that police detained a few protesters, but many remained in side streets in the Taksim area at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, including youths and women, some in gas masks.

 

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