Turkish riot police stormed an Istanbul park at the heart of two weeks of protest against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday, firing tear gas and water cannon and sending hundreds scurrying into surrounding streets.
Lines of police backed by armored vehicles sealed off Taksim Square in the center of the city as officers stormed the adjoining Gezi Park, where protesters had been living in a ramshackle tent camp.
Erdogan had warned hours earlier that security forces would clear the square, the center of more than two weeks of fierce anti-government protests that spread to cities across Turkey, unless the demonstrators withdrew before a ruling party rally in Istanbul on Sunday.
"We have our Istanbul rally tomorrow. I say it clearly: Taksim Square must be evacuated, otherwise this country's security forces know how to evacuate it," he told tens of thousands of flag-waving supporters at a rally in Ankara.
A main public-sector union confederation, KESK, which has some 240,000 members, said it would call a national strike for Monday, while a second union grouping said it was holding an emergency meeting to decide whether to join the action....