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Police have detained some demonstrators while CHP deputy Mahmut Tanal was speaking to the journalists on İstiklal Avenue in Taksim on May 31. Minutes after the incident, police started to intervene with tear gas, water cannons on İstiklal Avenue. (Photo: Hürriyet)

Protesters Face Riot Police, Water Cannons On Anniversary of Turkey's Uprisings

Over 25,000 police have been deployed in Istanbul alone

Sarah Lazare

Protesters who took to the streets of Istanbul and Ankara on Saturday to mark the one-year anniversary of this country's Gezi Park uprisings were met with riot police, tear gas, and water cannons.

According to numerous media reports, 25,000 policemen and 50 water cannons were deployed in Istanbul alone in a bid to block protests at the iconic Taksim Square, which has become of a focal point of mass protests over the past year.

Journalists in Istanbul are reportedly being blocked from covering Saturday's protests.

The group Taksim Solidarity stated on its Twitter account that it will not make a press statement "until the police violence ends," Turksih paper Hürriyet reports.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously vowed to shut down any attempt to stage an anniversary protest in Taksim square and called the demonstrators "terrorists."

Last May 31, police violently evicted of protesters occupying Gezi Park in opposition to government plans to redevelop the green space. This touched off mobilizations and rallies across the country, that broadened to take on issues of authoritarianism, state repression, and poverty.

Erdogan's government has been widely criticized for its severe crackdown on the protests, which has left several people dead and thousands injured.

Reports and updates on Saturday's protests are being posted on Twitter:

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