Taksim Square Mostly Cleared of Protesters

Water cannons and tear gas deployed


ISTANBUL — After more than a day of chaotic clashes, Taksim Square was largely cleared of protesters on Wednesday, with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan taking harsh action against the demonstrations that have created the biggest crisis in his 10 years in power.

Erdogan was scheduled to meet with a select group of protesters later Wednesday, but in the day leading up to the meeting riot police swept into Taksim Square, using vast clouds of tear gas and water cannons to clear away thousands of protesters who had gathered there to protest what they say are encroachments on their personal liberties. The central Istanbul square had largely shut to traffic since May 31, when major protests started, but police cleared away barricades the protesters had erected and stripped a central monument of revolutionary banners that had covered it.