Turkish Riot Police Enter Taksim Square

Hundreds of police in riot gear moved easily past barricades in Istanbul’s square early Tuesday. Many of the protesters, who had occupied the square for more than a week, were pushed into nearby Gezi Park.

Police began by taking down banners hung by protesters on a large building at the edge of the square. The banners were replaced with a Turkish flag and a banner of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Cops briefly fired tear gas canisters as well as rubber bullets. Protesters fled into Gezi Park, where many had been camping. Some of the activists fired fireworks, fire bombs, and stones at police, reports AP.

Hurriyet Daily News reports that the governor’s office sent a written statement that the operation meant to remove the banners and flag, but there was no intervention planned for the Gezi Park and the tents inside.

Police announces protestors they won't touch #gezipark, ask them to empty #taksim. Some tear gas used.

— zeynep_erdim (@Zeynep Erdim)

Police have announced they won't be touching Gezi Park & r there to remove banners & barricades but gas travels #occupygezi

— nhacizade (@Nigâr Hacızade)

Police in Istanbul using water cannon and tear gas to try to clear protestors from #taksim square. #turkey

— DerekStoffelCBC (@Derek Stoffel)

Gaz bombaları polise geri atiliyor #direngeziparkı

— AliserDelek (@Alişer Delek)

Gas rising over police lines from canister thrown back. #occupygezi

— wearerabble (@rabble)

Group trying to creep closeto Toma carrying mpolotovs

— AChristieMiller (@Alex Christie-Miller)

Much debate about who are the "provocateurs" throwing Molotov cocktails at police. Protests have been largely peaceful so far.

— TheTurkishLife (@Jennifer Hattam)

Police dispersed chanting crowd and the human chain with very strong tear gas. #Taksim almost empty now. #gezipark

— zeynep_erdim (@Zeynep Erdim)

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Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at michelle@buzzfeed.com
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