Police seek to break up large crowds in Istanbul, Ankara

ISTANDBUL (AP) — The intense conflict in Turkey between the government and protesters spread today from Istanbul to the capital of Ankara.

In Instanbul, police wielded water cannon to break up thousands of demonstrators who had gathered in Taksim Square to observe a memorial for four people killed during recent anti-government protests. The officers later fired tear gas and rubber bullets to scatter demonstrators who regrouped in side streets.

The police move came as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that foreign-led conspirators he alleges are behind the anti-government movement in his country also are fomenting the recent unrest in Brazil.

The Dogan news agency reported that police in Ankara also sprayed tear gas and pressurized water to break up hundreds of protesters who gathered in two neighborhoods, wanting to march to the city’s main square.

Last week, police had used water cannon as well as tear gas and rubber bullets to clear Taksim Square and end an occupation of Gezi Park by activists. But the demonstrations had largely subsided in Istanbul in recent days, with many protesters using a new, more passive approach of standing motionless in the streets to air their grievances.

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