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31 arrested over anti-govt protests in Turkey

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-06-22 20:43

ANKARA - Thirty-one people have been arrested over anti-government Gezi Park protests in Ankara and Istanbul, bringing the total of those detained during the three- week-long unrest to 55, private Dogan news agency reported on Saturday.

An Ankara court ordered the arrest of 22 protesters upon the prosecutors' warrant in the early hours of June 22 for organizing the demonstrations and instigating violence during clashes with the police forces.

Nine others were arrested over charges of damaging public property and being affiliated to terrorist organizations.

About 67 demonstrators in Istanbul face charges of provoking violence. A total of 17 people were sent to the court for trial.

Clashes renewed late Friday near the U.S. Embassy on Kennedy Avenue in Ankara, which has become the center of confrontations during the last week.

Police forces fired tear gas canisters and water cannons against a group of protesters who were setting up barricades on the road.  

The protests began in Turkey as a peaceful sit-in against a plan to redevelop Gezi Park in Istanbul, but soon snowballed into nationwide anti-government movement due to harsh police crackdowns.

Clashes between police and protesters across Turkey have killed at least five people, including a policeman, and injured some 5, 000.

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