2 Jun 2013

Turkish police arrest more than 900 people during protests

9:39 pm on 2 June 2013

Turkish police have arrested more than 900 people during two days of protests, the most sustained anti-government outburst for years.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler said some of those arrested had since been released, others would be put on trial.

He said 26 police officers and 53 civilians had been hurt, one of them seriously.

Protests flared after police cracked down on a peaceful sit-in against a plan to redevelop a park in Istanbul.

The BBC reports that people believe the government wants to take away some of their personal freedoms.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has offered to talk to the protesters.

Police in Istanbul pulled out of Taksim Square, which is now the focus of the protests, on Saturday.

Thousands of people are in Taksim Square after days of unrest sparked by plans to redevelop nearby Gezi Park.

Police have used tear gas and water cannon several times in recent days to break up the demonstrations.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said police may have used excessive force but the park development would go ahead.

Muammer Guler said more than 90 demonstrations had taken place in 48 cities.

He said one of the injured civilians was being treated in an intensive care unit at an Istanbul hospital, but gave no details of how the injury was sustained.

Video footage from Ankara appeared to show one protester being run down by a police vehicle.

Amnesty International claimed two people had been killed and more than 1000 injured, though there was no confirmation of those figures.