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Police seal off Istanbul square after protests

Associated Press
Turkish riot police fire tear gas after chasing protesters out of  Gezi Park in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, June 15, 2013. Riot police stormed the park after protesters ignored government appeals and a warning from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the two-week standoff that has fanned nationwide demonstrations to end. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

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ISTANBUL (AP) — Police in Istanbul have cordoned off the city's Taksim Square to traffic and pedestrians after clearing out protesters occupying a park in a show of discontent with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 10-year tenure.

Skirmishes continued into the early hours of Sunday between police and protesters attempting to return to Taksim. Police fired tear gas and took control of roads leading to Taksim.

Bulldozers meanwhile, cleared out all signs of the two-week long sit-in at Taksim's Gezi Park.

The protests began as an environmental sit-in to prevent a development project at Gezi but spiraled into wider anti-government demonstrations.

Police swept through the area on Saturday after a group of protesters vowed to stay at the park despite Erdogan's promise to suspend redevelopment plans pending court rulings and a referendum.

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