UK

Turkey Protests Erupt Again As Recep Tayyip Erdogan Holds Mass Rally (PICTURES)

16/06/2013 17:33 BST | Updated 16/08/2013 10:12 BST

Further clashes have erupted on the streets of Ankara and Istanbul as the Turkish prime minister held a huge rally in front of thousands of supporters.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the cheering crowds in Istanbul it was "his duty" to get rid of the protesters, reports Sky News.

Referring to a police operation on Saturday to eject demonstrators from Taksim Square and Gezi Park in Istanbul, he said: "I said we were at an end. That it was unbearable.

turkey protests

A protester takes on riot police

"Yesterday the operation was carried out and it was cleaned up.

"Nobody can intimidate us. We don't take orders or instructions from anybody except from God."

Elsewhere in the city police continued to fire water canon and tear gas at protesters attempting to regroup after being evicted from Gezi Park.

turkey protest rally erdogan

Tens of thousands of people turned op for the pro-government rally

Bulldozers dismantled barricades set up by the protesters as a line of police sealed off Taksim Square.

The demonstration originally started in opposition to plans to redevelop the park but quickly escalated in response to heavy-handed police tactics.

Story continues after slideshow...

Taksim Square

Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasing authoritarianism quickly became the focus of anger as similar protests erupted across the country in support.

Last week Erdogan said: "They burn and destroy. They destroy the shops of civilians. They destroy the cars of civilians.

"They are low enough to insult the prime minister of this country."

EU Minister Egemen Bagis told Turkey's Kanal 24 television the protesters were "terrorists".

He said: "There are illegal groups there. Which country will turn a blind eye if a public space is occupied by a marginal group."

In a slightly surreal moment on Wednesday, a duo of musicians brought some welcome calm to the square after a grand piano was wheeled into Gezi Park.

Five thousand people have been injured and four killed, reports the BBC.

Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International's researcher on Turkey, who is currently in Istanbul, said: "Following a night of shocking police violence, the authorities are now denying due process to those they have detained.

"The police must released them immediately or disclose their location and allow access to family members and lawyers.

"I did not see any violence being used by the protesters against the police while I was observing the protests in Taksim or in nearby Cihangir from 8.30pm until the early hours of the morning. During this time police continually attacked protesters with tear gas and water cannon."