Riot police smash Turkish protests
Riot police firing tear gas and water cannons have re-entered Istanbul's Taksim Square after defiant protesters swarmed back in by the thousands.
It was the latest sign that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government may have run out of patience after 12 days of unrest in Turkey's largest city and beyond.
Earlier in the day, he accused the protesters of sullying Turkey's image, raising the possibility that he had ordered police to show no restraint in clearing Taksim Square.
In the chaos of a confrontation, several fires burned in the square and protesters exploded fireworks, threw stones and waved banners.
As a phalanx of helmeted officers moved forward, water cannons doused a man in a wheelchair carrying a Turkish flag. Plain clothes officers in gas masks yanked down banners.
For the police, the marching orders appeared to be: fire tear gas, advance, spray water cannons and peel back. Then, after the tear gas dissipated in the wind, the protesters again stepped into the void - clanging fences, shooting fireworks, and erecting makeshift barricades. At one point, they set alight a huge bonfire in the middle of the square.
Several people were being placed into ambulances during the clashes, which have trained an international spotlight on Turkey's democracy. The protests have swelled from a peaceful demonstration first aimed to stop developers from cutting down trees in a park into nationwide disturbances.
Earlier, many of the protesters in Istanbul had fled into the adjacent Gezi Park, where hundreds have been camping out to stop developers from cutting down trees in the park. As police moved in, bulldozers began demolishing the barricades and the makeshift shelters.
At the same time, Mr Erdogan made it clear in Ankara, the capital, that he had come to the end of his patience with the protesters.
"To those who ... are at Taksim and elsewhere taking part in the demonstrations with sincere feelings, I call on you to leave those places and to end these incidents, and I send you my love. But for those who want to continue with the incidents I say: 'It's over'. As of now we have no tolerance for them," Mr Erdogan said.