06/12/2013, 00.00
TURKEY
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Meeting between Erdogan and Taksim Square protest leaders is cancelled

The prime minister did hold an informal interview with some protesters. Police finally clear the square that has become the "symbol" of protests. Thousands of people are still guarding Gezi Park. At least 40 lawyers are arrested; they provided legal counsel to protesters on trial.

Istanbul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Talks between Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and protest organisers have been cancelled. This morning, police successfully cleared Taksim Square after a night of clashes. Erdogan, who still maintains a 'zero tolerance' policy, met some protesters, including an actress, a writer and a singer. The official meeting with protest leaders should take place tomorrow, but no official announcement has been made confirming it.

At present, the thousands of people who have occupied Taksim Square since 31 May took refuge in Gezi Park, symbol of recent protests.

Today Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said that police is not planning to clear the park, the real heart of the protest, but to restore order in the square and nearby streets and remove graffiti and banners against Erdogan and the ruling party AKP.

To prevent further action in the square and copycats in the rest of the country, the Turkish Radio and Television Supreme Council has blocked live coverage of the protests.

The authorities also fined a number of channels for "harming the physical, moral and mental development of children and young people" by broadcasting coverage of the Gezi Park protest.

Meanwhile, riot police arrested at least 40 lawyers defending detainees.

 

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