Turkish riot police chase protestors away from Taksim Square
Zee Media Bureau
Ankara: Turkish riot police on early Tuesday moved past the barricades erected by the protesters at Taksim Square in Istanbul even as PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed to meet the demonstrators.
The protests entered day 12 today as riot police donning helmets and shields chased away the protesters past the barricades into a closeby park.
Police fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse the demonstrators from the square, leading them to take shelter in Gezi Park.
Earlier, demonstrators had manned the barricades and prepared for a possible intervention when officers began massing in the area.
Police began taking down large banners that had been hung by protesters on a large building on the edge of the square, replacing them with a large Turkish flag and a banner with the picture of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the beloved founder of the secular republic 89 years ago after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.
Turkey's most widespread anti-government protests in decades erupted on May 31 after a violent police crackdown on a peaceful sit-in by protesters objecting to a project replacing the park with a replica Ottoman-era barracks.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said he would meet with the Gezi Park protesters on Wednesday, following a request by some of the protesters.
Three people have died and over 5,000 people injured in the protests so far.