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What Started As A Protest Over Trees In Turkey Has Escalated Into Violence

The government's response to a sit-in at a park on Friday has sparked widespread anti-government protests and violence that continued into the weekend.

Posted on June 1, 2013, at 12:12 p.m. ET

A protest in Istanbul, Turkey, that began as opposition to the removal of trees at a popular park has escalated into mass demonstrations against the Turkish government.

Murad Sezer / Reuters

Demonstrators refused to leave Taksim Square Tuesday in an effort to stop the uprooting of trees to make way for a shopping mall and army barracks.

Osman Orsal / Reuters

The government responded to the demonstrators with riot police and tear gas.

Burhan Ozbilici / AP

The protest then grew out of anger at the government's severe reaction to what began as a peaceful demonstration.

Murad Sezer / Reuters
Murad Sezer / Reuters
The Associated Press / AP
Murad Sezer / Reuters

Hundreds were injured Friday, and authorities attempted to push demonstrators away from Taksim Square.

Murad Sezer / Reuters

Police used tear gas and water cannons to attempt to disperse crowds.

Murad Sezer / Reuters
Murad Sezer / Reuters
Murad Sezer / Reuters
Osman Orsal / Reuters
Murad Sezer / Reuters

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said police may have used tear gas excessively against protestors, but also said protestors did not represent a majority of the population.

Murad Sezer / Reuters

A Turkish riot policeman uses tear gas as a demonstrator holds a banner which reads, "Chemical Tayyip", referring to Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan

The violence in Istanbul has prompted protestors to rally in other cities across the country.

Murad Sezer / Reuters

Reuters has called the protests Turkey's "fiercest anti-government protests for years."

Murad Sezer / Reuters
Murad Sezer / Reuters
Murad Sezer / Reuters
Osman Orsal / Reuters
The Associated Press / AP
Osman Orsal / Reuters
Osman Orsal / Reuters

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