Istanbul: Hundreds of Turkish riot police entered Istanbul's Taksim Square on Tuesday, firing teargas to scatter small numbers of protesters who have been staging demonstrations against plans to redevelop an adjoining park, a Reuters witness said.
Backed by armoured vehicles, police wearing white helmets and carrying shields massed in areas around the square, but there were no clashes between them and protesters in the nearby park.
The development come even after Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan agreed to meet on Wednesday with leaders of the movement whose peaceful protests in Istanbul spiralled into a wave of anti-government demonstrations across Turkey.
Erdogan has repeatedly dismissed the protesters as "capulcular", or riff-raff. But Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc said on Monday leaders of the Gezi Park Platform group had asked to meet him in an effort to end unrest in which police have blasted demonstrators with tear gas and water cannon.