Global Post: ISTANBUL, Turkey — From every corner of this vast city they came to Taksim square, the scene of government attempts to replace a public park with a mall.
The square has become the symbol for Turkey’s broadening protest movement as more and more people from all strata of society are drawn to the demonstrations to express their mounting frustrations with the government.
Thousands arrived at the square on Saturday, every hour and from all directions. There were Greenpeace activists, football fans, supporters of opposition political parties as well as right- and left-wing groups.
The streets were mostly for the young, but there were families and elderly couples, too. Riot police beat back surging crowds using wave after wave of tear gas.
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Student doctors and nurses roamed Taksim square, applying a solution of water and sodium bicarbonate to anyone with red eyes.
Paper masks were handed out, though by Saturday evening, many protesters were better prepared and equipped with head-covering latex gas masks.
Calls for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s resignation reverberated around Istanbul’s city streets and by 5 p.m., police were driven from the square by a shower of stones and bottles.
Though most demonstrators left Taksim square overnight, some stayed sleeping on grass patches, keen to maintain control of the area and to savor in what had just been achieved.