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Istanbul Police Disperse Protesters, Close Gezi Park Again

Istanbul's Gezi Park was at the center of antigovernment protests that swept across Turkey last month.
An Istanbul park that was the center of weeks of protest has been closed just hours after it was reopened.

Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu had announced earlier on July 8 that Gezi Park at Taksim Square would open after being cordoned off for the last three weeks.

Mutlu warned against any illegal gatherings but by evening protesters were returning to the park.

Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannon to disperse demonstrators, then announced the park was closed.

Plans by city authorities to build a shopping mall at the site sparked protests at the end of May that developed into nationwide antigovernment protests.

Turkish authorities in mid-June finally approved a heavy police response to evict protesters but the violence that accompanied efforts to clear the park and the square drew sharp international criticism.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AFP, AP, and dpa