ANKARA, Turkey—"Lawbreakers" will be removed from Istanbul's Taksim Square, Turkey's prime minister declared Thursday.
Ratcheting up his defiant tone, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared determined to end two weeks of protests that have put an unflattering international spotlight on his Islamic-rooted government and its handling of the biggest street unrest of his 10-year tenure.
Erdogan's comments came a day after his Justice and Development party proposed a referendum over a development plan at Taksim Square that has fanned the protests. Police have repeatedly fired water cannons, tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse the protesters; five people have died and over 5,000 have been injured. The government says 600 police were injured as well.