Turkish police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters in Istanbul's central Taksim Square on Saturday (January 18), who are demonstrating mainly against a government bill that would increase controls over the Internet.

Smaller demonstrations also took place in the coastal city of Izmir and in the capital Ankara, where about 300 protesters chanted slogans opposing the government and the internet bill.

The draft law that is to be debated in parliament in the coming days would allow the government to block websites without seeking a court order and it would also enable mass surveillance of Internet users.

The Turkish government said the bill was aimed at protecting people's privacy and protecting children from Internet predators.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan faces a crisis unprecedented during his 11 years in office due to a graft scandal that has forced three ministers' resignations and a cabinet reshuffle, as well as destabilising the Turkish economy whose rapid growth has been a showpiece of his rule.

However, Erdogan still enjoys the loyalty of many pious Muslims and members of Turkey's wealthy elite.

Presented by Adam Justice