Erdogan issues final warning to Turkish protesters

Thursday 13 June 2013 13.53
Protesters have gathered in Istanbul's Taksim Square to demonstrate against the government
Protesters have gathered in Istanbul's Taksim Square to demonstrate against the government

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan has issued a final warning to protesters occupying a park in central Istanbul.

He said his patience had run out and called on protesters to leave the park, which is part of the city's central Taksim Square.

"Our patience is at an end. I am making my warning for the last time. I say to the mothers and fathers please take your children in hand and bring them out.

"We cannot wait any more because Gezi Park does not belong to occupying forces but to the people," Mr Erdogan told an AK Party meeting in Ankara.

The ruling AK Party yesterday floated the offer of a referendum on the development plan, which has had a central role in nearly two weeks of mass protests.

Protests erupted on 31 May after a violent police crackdown on a peaceful sit-in by activists objecting to the project to replace the park.

Hundreds of anti-government demonstrators chanted and sang in Taksim Square earlier today after the referendum idea was mentioned.

It was a contrast to the scene 24 hours earlier, when tear gas was used on the streets and authorities bulldozed barricades and reopened the square to traffic for the first time since the troubles began.

Keywords: turkey
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