Thousands of protesters camped out in Istanbul's Gezi Park to save what they say is the last public green space in the city were greeted with tear gas and pepper spray today when police arrived.
Cops in riot gear burned tents and fired water cannons in a violent crackdown on Occupy Gezi, or Diren Gezi Parkı, a week-long occupation of Istanbul's central Taksim square that's grown from an environmental protest over a development plan that would have replaced Gezi Park with a mall into a movement against Turkey's Prime Minister, the religious conservative Tayyip Erdogan:
"We do not have a government, we have Tayyip Erdogan...Even AK Party supporters are saying they have lost their mind, they are not listening to us," said Koray Caliskan, a political scientist at Bosphorus University who attended the protest. "This is the beginning of a summer of discontent."
At least 100 people sustained minor injuries, and protestors—who say they number around 10,000—are asking that others join them in the occupation. Turkey's main opposition leader has pledged his support. Photographs are being posted on this Tumblr (the submission policy seems to be fairly loose, so treat with skepticism until confirmed).
[image via AP]