Arwa Damon, CNN's senior international correspondent, is wearing a gas mask on live TV. Around her, people are running, tear-gas canisters are flung, fireworks are going off, and buildings are on fire. It's a wild scene, something between the Fourth of July and Tahrir Square.
Damon is standing in Istanbul's Taksim square, where on Tuesday a two-week long environmental protest and demonstration morphed into something much more violent, and indicative of a growing discontent with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Protesters reportedly threw Molotov cocktails at the police, and the police responded with the tear gas and water cannons.
Here's the digest version of what's going on: Two weeks ago, protesters were "occupying" Gezi Park, protesting its demolition, when police came to evict them. What followed was a series of escalations—and other protests around the country—as the movement directed outrage toward Erdogan's ever-less-secular government. The protests aren't about one thing in particular, but are against actions by the government that the protesters feel are authoritarian. In the past weeks, three have died and 5,000 have been injured.
Earlier today, the prime minister declared he had "no more tolerance" for violent protest. He said the park was full of extremists. Meanwhile riot police were arriving on scene.
Here are some images from the scene.
- Politics & Government
- Unrest, Conflicts & War
- Recep Tayyip Erdogan