5 Jun 2013

Renewed protests in Turkey after apology

1:58 pm on 5 June 2013

Thousands of people are taking part in a fifth night of anti-government protests in Turkey.

Demonstrators gathered in Istanbul hours after Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc apologised for the violent police response to initial protests last week.

Protests opposing the redevelopment of Gezi Park park grew into days of unrest across Turkey.

Mr Arinc said the original protests were "just and legitimate" and the "excessive use of force" by police was wrong.

The BB reports the crowd in crowd in Taksim Square is massive, ranging from football fans to well-heeled professionals.

The atmosphere is almost celebratory as the protesters realise the government is trying to conciliate, a BBC correspondent said.

Mr Arinc's conciliatory remarks contrast with the tougher line taken by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who says the protests are undemocratic.

Speaking during a trip to Morocco, Mr Erdogan told reporters: "On my return from this visit, the problems will be solved."

Earlier on Tuesday the left-wing Kesk trade union confederation, representing some 240,000 public sector workers, began a two-day strike in support of the protests and accused the government of committing "state terror".

Another trade union confederation, Disk, has said it will join the strike on Wednesday