Turkey Protests Rage On: More Than 1,700 Held

Thousands of demonstrators have gathered in central Istanbul for a third day of protests against Turkey's Islamist-rooted government.
After a few hours of calm earlier in the day, Taksim Square, the focal point of the protests, began to fill up again with protesters waving flags, chanting anti-government slogans and calling on the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to step down.
"They call me a dictator," he said in a speech on Sunday, a day after he called for an immediate end to the protests.
"If they liken a humble servant to a dictator, then I am at a loss for words."
Dozens have been injured and more than 1,700 people arrested in 235 demonstrations that have flared up in 67 cities across the vast nation.
In the capital, Ankara, on Sunday, police reportedly fired tear gas in an attempt to disperse a crowd demonstrating against the government as crowds returned to Kizilay Square.
Some protesters camped overnight at Istanbul's Taksim Square, gathering around the monument to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern secular Turkey.
Akin, who has been in Taksim for the past four days, said: "We are not leaving. The only answer now is for this government to fall. We are tired of this oppressive government constantly putting pressure on us.
"This is no longer about these trees," he said, referring to Taksim's Gezi Park, which was the initial focus of the protests.
Amnesty International said there had been two deaths, and Turkey's Western allies including Britain and the US called on the government to show restraint.
Police withdrew from Taksim Square on Saturday after violent clashes in which they fired tear gas and turned water cannon against the demonstrators.
The interior ministry said 53 civilians and 26 police officers were hurt during the violence, while Amnesty put the number of wounded in the hundreds.
What began as an outcry against plans to build a shopping centre or apartments on the park snowballed into a broader protest against the government, which critics say has become increasingly authoritarian.
Istanbul mayor Kadir Topbas has said he regrets "not informing the people enough" on the details of the construction project in Taksim, the spark that led to the protests.
Earlier, shopkeepers and municipal workers started cleaning up the streets where the violence had taken place.
Sky's correspondent Katie Stallard said that rubble littered the main streets around Taksim Square.
"There is about 48 hours-worth of damage done here," she said.
"There is graffiti up and down the street calling for Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister, to resign; calling for people to unite against fascism."
Shopkeepers scrubbed anti-government graffiti off walls, and slogans were also sprayed on burnt-out vehicles including a police car and a bus.
On Saturday, Mr Erdogan said there had been examples of "extreme" police action, but said that the Taksim Square develpment would go ahead.
He added: "I call on the protesters to stop their demonstrations immediately."
The Interior Ministry said that legal action would be taken against police officers who had acted "disproportionately".
The country's Doctors' Association said four people have permanently lost their eyesight after being hit by gas canisters or plastic bullets.


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