15 Jun 2013

Turkish protesters vow to stay put despite backdown over park

10:06 pm on 15 June 2013

Turkish protesters have vowed to continue occupying Istanbul's Gezi Park.

Their defiant statement came despite Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's promise to suspend a redevelopment plan which sparked two weeks of anti-government unrest.

"We will continue our resistance in the face of any injustice and unfairness taking place in our country," the Taksim Solidarity group said. "This is only the beginning."

The statement came after all-night discussions in Gezi Park.

Mr Erdogan's offer to stop the redevelopment until a court ruled on its legality was his first conciliatory gesture since the challenge to his Islamist-backed government began.

He had previously taken a tough line on the protests, branding the demonstrators "extremists" and "looters". He also said the unrest was being encouraged by foreign forces to undermine Turkey and its economy.

The police crackdown on protesters in Istanbul, Ankara, and other towns and cities has drawn international concern, especially from Europe.

Five people have died and thousands have been injured since the protests began on 31 May.

Protesters have accused Mr Erdogan's government of becoming increasingly authoritarian and of trying to impose conservative Islamic values on a secular state.