Turkey's 'silent man' vigils go on as protests fizzle out
ISTANBUL: Riot police on Wednesday clashed briefly with groups of anti-government protesters in two Turkish cities, but there was no fresh unrest in Istanbul where demonstrators switched to silent protests after a heavy crackdown.
A day after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed victory over the mass demos that have defied his authority for nearly three weeks, several dozen protesters held a quiet vigil on Istanbul's Taksim Square, standing still and silent in the midday heat.
But the police presence on the square was much smaller than in previous days and the area was mostly overrun with tourists and commuters resuming their normal routines.
The so-called “standing man” protest, which began with a lone choreographer in Istanbul on Monday, also spread to the capital Ankara, the southern city of Adana and the western city of Izmir, with hundreds standing motionless in public spaces in a peaceful act of quiet defiance.
The only reports of fresh clashes overnight were in Ankara and the central city of Eskisehir, where police fired tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters, according to local media.
The protests against Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted government have lost some of their intensity since police on Saturday stormed Istanbul's Gezi Park, the epicentre of the nationwide demos, evicting thousands of protesters and sparking a weekend of violence.