Turkish police clash with protesters in Istanbul's Taksim Square

Turkish police clash with protesters in Istanbul
# 21 July 2013 03:48 (UTC +04:00)

Police used water cannon and tear gas on Saturday to disperse protesters after barring them from entering the park where they had hoped to celebrate the wedding of a couple.

There were no immediate reports on the number of casualties.

The newlywed and hundreds of protesters were later allowed into Gezi Park to take photographs. But they were soon forced out of the park again after they began to chant anti-government slogans.

Turkey has been rocked by nationwide protests and strikes against the policies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The unrest was triggered by a crackdown on a sit-in by environmentalists protesting the uprooting of trees at Gezi to make way for the construction of a replica Ottoman-era barracks

Critics blame the police for using heavy-handed tactics against protesters, such as firing teargas canisters directly at protesters as well as inside closed spaces.

The government has arrested many activists, among them high school students, on allegations of inciting unrest.

Erdogan has branded the protesters as vandals, looters or terrorists, and claims the demonstrations are part of a plot to topple his government.