Anti-government protesters in Turkey are refusing to leave Istanbul’s Taksim Square despite the prime minister’s pledge not to develop its Gezi Park site, setting the stage for another confrontation between demonstrators and police.
“We will continue our resistance in the face of any injustice and unfairness taking place in our country,” the Taksim Solidarity, an umbrella group of protesters, said in a statement Saturday.
The protest began as a dispute over developing Gezi Park, but quickly blossomed into a broader protest against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamic-leaning government.
The resistance encompasses “citizens’ anger that accumulated over 11 years of A.K.P. government,” the statement said, referring to the acronym for the ruling Justice and Development Party.
NPR’s Peter Kenyon, reporting from Istanbul, says the government has been trying to downplay the two-week-old protests by clamping down on broadcasters who aired the demonstrations.
Peter says that some of the protesters have taken to T-shirts around Gezi Park showing a penguin with a gas mask and anarchy symbol — a mocking stab at one television channel that aired a wildlife documentary as police moved into the park to tear-gas the demonstrators.