The Turkish police have fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse hundreds of anti - government demonstrators who gathered at Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ' s offices in Istanbul and Ankara.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, the protesters surrounded Erdogan's offices in both cities and defied police warnings to disperse, AFP reported. Special police forces used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, who were chanting slogans against Erdogan. On Tuesday afternoon, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc apologized for the government's violent crackdown on the protesters and called on the protesters to end the demonstrations. However, the demonstrators took to the streets again on Tuesday night, flooding Istanbul's Taksim Square and taunting Erdogan, who earlier dismissed them as "extremists" and "vandals." "The vandals are here! Where is Tayyip?" yelled the crowd. They also demanded that Erdogan resign. Earlier in the day, the Turkish Confederation of Public Workers' Unions (KESK), which represents 240,000 employees, launched a two-day strike to express solidarity with the protesters. KESK spokesman Baki Cinar rejected the government’s conciliatory move. "The apology is just damage control and only because they know they are stuck," Cinar said. Since Friday, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have held demonstrations in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Mugla, Antalya, and many other cities and towns. According to the Turkish Human Rights Association, two protesters died and over 2,800 others were injured in the violence. The anti-government unrest began after police broke up a sit-in staged in Taksim Square on Friday to protest against the demolition of Gezi Park. The protesters say Gezi Park, which is a traditional gathering point for rallies and demonstrations as well as a popular tourist destination, is Istanbul's last green public space. Amnesty International censured the Turkish police for the tactics they used to control the protests.