Jun. 16 - Thousands of people take to the streets of Istanbul overnight, after riot police storm a park that had been occupied for more than two weeks by antigovernment protesters.Sarah Toms reports.
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The end of the occupation but the beginning of a night of clashes between protesters and police. Turkey's riot police moved in on Gezi park to shift them. They took back the ground occupied by anti government protesters for more than two weeks with tear gas and watercannon. Earlier Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan had warned security forces would clear the square. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRIME MINISTER, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING: "My brothers and sisters who are still there, please leave. I ask protesters with good intentions to leave because that park belongs to all residents of Istanbul, it belongs to everybody in Taksim. It does not belong to illegal organizations. I say it clearly. Taksim Square must be evacuated, otherwise this country's security forces know how to evacuate it." But hours after the area was cleared thousands took to the streets of Istanbul, barricading a main avenue to the park in Taksim Square. It was not just in Istanbul people gathered to denounce the police raid. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PROTESTERS, MERT YALDIRAN, SAYING: "We are supporting people in Taksim. They shouldn't think they are alone. Although we are 500 kilometers away we are with them. Can they (police) dare come here?" A wave of protests against Erdogan and his party's perceived authoritarianism has fanned across the country since a brutal crackdown on peaceful campaigners in Gezi park in May. Now Erdogan's won back his ground but as fierce protests continue it appears he has not won back the people's support.