Turkey protesters vow to stay in park

AFP-JIJI

Turkish protesters hunkered down in an Istanbul park Saturday, rejecting an olive branch the government had hoped would end two weeks of nationwide civil unrest.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s offer to halt the redevelopment of Gezi Park that first ignited the protests was presented as a major concession but after conferring all night the protesters said their movement was about something bigger than a conservation struggle.

“We will continue our resistance in the face of any injustice and unfairness taking place in our country,” the Taksim Solidarity group, seen as most representative of the protesters, said in a statement. “This is only the beginning.”

The decision looked set to inflame tensions a day after Erdogan offered to halt the Gezi Park redevelopment until a court ruled on its legality, his first major conciliatory gesture yet in a bid to end the biggest challenge to his Islamist-rooted government’s decade-long rule.