Turkish protesters detained by police

Last updated 19:55 18/06/2013

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Turkish police are carrying out raids and detaining people suspected of involvement in violence against police during a wave of anti-government protests, local news reports state.

Overnight in Ankara, riot police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters who had gathered in and around the government quarter of Kizilay.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler said 62 people had been detained in Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul and 23 in the capital Ankara. State broadcaster TRT also said a further 13 had been held in Eskisehir.

A police source confirmed the operation and said: ‘‘For now, only provocateurs will be taken for questioning.’’

Earlier, police detained a dozen people who stood still at Istanbul's Taksim Square in a form of passive defiance against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's authority after activists were ousted from a sit-in at a park over the weekend.

NTV television says the raids in Ankara and Istanbul are targeting left-wing groups, which authorities suspect were involved in violent clashes with police.

A wave of anti-government protest swept through Turkey starting May 31 that have shaken the country's secular democracy.

Clashes have erupted in cities across the country, as people protest against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s leadership.

Erdogan has struck a defiant tone in the face of the biggest public challenge to his 10-year rule, during which he has overseen an economic boom and enjoyed broad popularity.

At a speech on Sunday before hundreds of thousands of supporters in Istanbul he said the disturbances had been manipulated by ‘‘terrorists’’.

Ankara’s police anti-terror department said it had no information on the reports of Tuesday’s raids.  

-Agencies

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