As Erdogan Threatens Bigger Crackdown, Turkey's Protesters Take to the Streets

Taksim Square June 11, AP/Thanassis Stavrakis

As Erdogan Threatens Bigger Crackdown, Turkey's Protesters Take to the Streets

Organizers dismiss prime minister's talks with protesters as an empty gesture

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today vowed to escalate violence after yesterday's crackdown on Istanbul protesters left hundreds injured. He insists Turkey's massive protests, now entering their third week, will be "over in 24 hours."

Yet, thousands defied his warning and flocked to Gezi Park Wednesday night, accompanied by a heavy presence of riot police.

Erdogan's latest threat flies in the face of his earlier tones of reconciliation.

In a bid to quell massive uprisings now entering their third week, Erdogan met earlier today with a small group of people he alleges represent protesters.

Yet, organizers in Turkey cried foul, insisting that the 11 academics, students, and artists meeting with the government do not represent the country's uprisings that have spread to dozens of cities.

Lawyers in Turkey are launching an investigation into excessive police violence against protesters in Istanbul's Taksim Square who were forcibly removed by police weilding tear gas, rubber bullet, and water cannon weapons. The clearing of the square led to more than 600 injuries, including the injury of a one year old baby, according to Turkey's Human Rights Foundation, the Huffington Postreports.

Lawyers throughout Ankara and Istanbul held boisterous courthouse protests today against police mistreatment of lawyers at yesterday's protests.


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