Turkish riot police fought running battles with pockets of protesters into the early hours of Wednesday (June 12) morning, after storming a central Istanbul square in a show of force that risked ratcheting up tensions almost two weeks after anti-government demonstrations began.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who has repeatedly dismissed the demonstrators as "riff-raff", was expected to meet protest leaders on Wednesday though one core group said it had not been invited and would not attend anyway.

Police fired volleys of tear gas canisters into the centre of a crowd of thousands on Taksim Square without warning at dusk on Tuesday (June 11).

The crowd included people in office clothes gathered after work and families with children, as well as youths in masks who had fought skirmishes throughout the day.

Chanting gangs of hard-core demonstrators taunted police in the narrow lanes leading down to the Bosphorus waterway late into the night, drawing more tear gas and water cannon spray. Municipal workers used bulldozers to remove the remains of vandalised vehicles and clear the square above.

The protests, during which demonstrators used fireworks and petrol bombs, have posed a stark challenge to Erdogan's authority and divided the country. Erdogan, who denies accusations of authoritarian behaviour, said he would not yield.

Presented by Adam Justice

Read: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/477619/20130612/turkey-protest-erdogan-istambul-taksim-square-gezi.htm