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.
Reuters Photo: Riot police prepare to enter Istanbul’s Taksim Square
Police besude a destroyed barricade with the park behind. #occupygezi
Tarlabasindan molotof ve fisek atiliyor
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.
Police have announced they won’t be touching Gezi Park & r there to remove banners & barricades but gas travels #occupygezi
Police in Istanbul using water cannon and tear gas to try to clear protestors from #taksim square. #turkey
Gaz bombalarÄ± polise geri atiliyor #direngeziparkÄ±
Gas rising over police lines from canister thrown back. #occupygezi
Group trying to creep closeto Toma carrying mpolotovs
Much debate about who are the “provocateurs” throwing Molotov cocktails at police. Protests have been largely peaceful so far.