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Turkish Police Storm Taksim Square And Clash With Protesters (PICTURES)

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Turkish police have stormed into Istanbul's Taksim Square, firing water cannon and rubber bullets into the air, leading to new clashes with anti-government protesters.

Police used water cannon and fired tear gas and rubber bullets, the BBC reported, while protesters responded by hurling rocks, knives and fire bombs.

Many of the protesters, who had been occupying Taksim Square for nearly two weeks, were forced into Gezi Park, the open space that triggered the unrest, where other people had been camping.

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Police used tear gas and water cannon to repel the protesters

The move sparked a backlash from protesters, with some throwing petrol bombs and stones at the police water cannon.

According to the Daily Telegraph, police, speaking through loudspeakers, asked the group to stop attacking officers and saying they did not want to use tear gas, before then firing the tear gas.

Earlier on Tuesday, the officers gathered around Taksim Square, taking down banners and dismantling barricades.

Protests initially sparked by development plans for Gezi Park have since widened into anti-government unrest, which has even united Istanbul's bitterly-divided football fans.

The anti-government unrest was sparked by a police crackdown on a local protest over an Istanbul park.

Meanwhile, prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is due to meet protest organisers on Wednesday, to "listen to their thoughts", according to his deputy.

Bulent Arinc said protesters would be "briefed on the facts" when they met.

The Turkish prime minister has taken a tough line with demonstrators, previously calling them "looters".

"They burn and destroy.. They destroy the shops of civilians. They destroy the cars of civilians," Erdogan told thousands of supporters in the city of Adana on Sunday, after climbing atop a bus to give a speech.

"They are low enough to insult the prime minister of this country," the Guardian quoted him as saying.

So far more than 5,000 people have been injured and three people have died since the protests began.

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