Chaos in Istanbul as Police, Protesters Clash

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istambul-turkeyISTANBUL, Turkey — A central square in Istanbul erupted through Tuesday and into Wednesday in an unsettling, chaotic chorus, with tear gas canisters and water cannons from police met by fireworks, metal banging and defiant chanting from protesters.

The nighttime drama followed an ebb and flow of demonstrators all day from the Turkish city’s Taksim Square and the abutting Gezi Park, where they’ve camped out for days.

Time and again, once the situation appeared to settle down, it would flare up again.

The rounds continued into the early hours of Wednesday, when government forces fired water cannons toward the park and toward streets adjacent to the square, and boom after boom of tear gas being fired could be heard.

Around 2 a.m. Wednesday, a fresh wave of tear gas engulfed Gezi Park — where government officials have said protesters can stay — as police broke through barricades on a side street nearby. The scene was frenzied with sirens blaring, people running, some even writhing in pain.

The day’s tumult are a continuation of demonstrations that first focused on the environment — opposition to a plan to build a mall at the park — but evolved into a crusade against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s democratically elected government.

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