Demonstrators built makeshift barricades with torn up paving stones while police used tear gas and water cannon in an attempt to break up the protests.

The protests first started after plans were carried out to build on a city park, but have quickly transformed into an anti government protest.

Many people fear that the government, which is run by the Justice and Development Party (AKP), is trying to enforce Islamic values over the officially secular country and is becoming increasingly authoritarian.

Although Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is widely supported by the rural and conservative Muslim community, he remains a divisive figure in the secular circles and is often criticised for his abrasive ruling style.

Since the protest first began on May 28, demonstrations have taken place over 67 towns and over 1700 people have been arrested across the country, although many have since been released.

Focal points for the protests include the recently decommissioned Besiktas football stadium, where thousands of people gathered over the weekend, as well as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s office.

Police have been said to have sealed off roads near Mr Erdogan’s office in an attempt to fend off protesters.

Many of the protesters appear to be young and urban middle class.

In a television interview on Sunday, Mr Erdogan brushed off the unrest by referring to the protesters as “a few looters” and condemned the news of the events being spread via social media which he referred to as “the worst menace to society”, especially Twitter which he called “an extreme version of lying”.

Mr Erdogan also said that he believes that the unrest has been provoked by the opposing political party in Turkey, the Republican People’s Party (CHP).

The area where the protests first began around Gezi Park, was strangely silent on Sunday night.

The protests first began last week after redevelopment plans around Gezi Park began in order to reportedly house a shopping centre in Taksim Square. Demonstrators have said that the park is one of the few green spots in the city and object to the construction.

However, once the police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators, which people have claimed as being excessive force, the crowds grew in opposition.

According to the Turkish Doctor’s Association, 484 protesters have been treated in hospitals since Friday.

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