The latest unrest in Taksim Square punctured six days of relative calm in Istanbul, although it was a long way from matching the ferocity of previous clashes there and in other cities that began more than three weeks ago.
On Saturday, demonstrators converged in Taksim, where they laid down carnations in remembrance of at least three protesters and a police officer killed in the rallies. For about two hours, thousands of protesters shouted anti-government slogans and demanded that Erdogan resign, before police warned them to leave the square.
Some demonstrators tried to give carnations to the security forces watching over the square, shouting: “Police, don’t betray your people.” But after their warnings to disperse were ignored, police pushed back protesters with water cannon, even chasing stragglers down side streets and apparently blocking entrances to the square.
In the nearby Beyoglu district riot police repeatedly charged protesters, who pelted them with bottles and rocks, and eventually blanketed the area with tear gas and fired rubber bullets.
On Mis Street the patrons of the thoroughfare’s many bars also rained bottles, glasses, chairs and tables onto a group of advancing officers, who fired a tear gas canister to get away.
In the capital Ankara, riot police fired water cannon and tear gas to break up hundreds of protesters, some of them shouting anti-Erdogan slogans, and at one location they built barricades to block a main street, according to witnesses.