in Istanbul's Takism Square. Courtesy photo: Press TV
Media ISTANBUL—Turkish protesters have rejected the government's apology for excessive violence by police and its appeal to end days of unrest.
On Tuesday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told a news
conference in Ankara, "The excessive violence that was used in the first
instance against those who were behaving with respect for the
environment is wrong and unfair. I apologize to those citizens."
Arinc called for the unrest to end, saying the protests had been taken over by "terrorist elements".
The demonstrators took to the streets again on Tuesday evening in
defiance of their government's apology and plea to end the protests,
which have escalated into deadly unrest in cities across Turkey.The protesters flooded Istanbul's Taksim Square, yelling defiance at
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who earlier dismissed them
as "extremists" and "vandals".
"The vandals are here! Where is Tayyip?" yelled the crowd.They demanded the resignation of Erdogan’s government.
"If they step back, if they change something in Turkey, the
conservatism and the things they've done, then maybe the crowd can go
home," said Didem Kul, a 24-year-old student in Taksim Square.
"But we can't go home without having a demonstration. And even if we go home, the feelings won't change."
Earlier in the day, the Turkish Confederation of Public Workers'
Unions (KESK), which represents 240,000 employees, launched a two-day
strike to express solidarity with the protesters. KESK spokesman Baki Cinar also rejected the government’s conciliatory move.
"The apology is just damage control and only because they know they are stuck," Cinar said. Since Friday, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have
held demonstrations in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Mugla, Antalya, and many
other cities and towns.
According to the Turkish Human Rights Association, two protesters
died and over 2,800 protesters were injured in the past five days. It
added that 791 protesters were arrested by the police.
The anti-government unrest began after police broke up a sit-in
staged in Taksim Square on Friday to protest against the demolition of
Gezi Park.The protesters say Gezi Park, which is a traditional gathering point
for rallies and demonstrations as well as a popular tourist
destination, is the city's last green public space.
Amnesty International censured the Turkish police for the tactics they used to control the protests.Add