Turkish riot police clash with protesters in Taksim Square

Turkish riot police fired tear gas and water cannon at hundreds of protesters armed with rocks and fireworks on Tuesday as they tried to take back control of a central Istanbul square at the heart of fierce anti-government demonstrations, Reuters reports.

Hundreds of riot police backed by armored vehicles surrounded Taksim Square as bulldozers began removing barricades of paving stones and corrugated iron built by the protesters.

The police move, shortly after dawn, came a day after Erdogan agreed to meet protest leaders, whose peaceful demonstrations two weeks ago spiraled into anti-government protests in cities across the country in which three people have been killed and about 5,000 hurt.

Police removed huge banners hung by protesters from a building overlooking Taksim but the local governor said they had no intention of breaking up a peaceful campaign against government redevelopment plans inside the adjoining GeziPark, where the demonstrations first began.

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