“We condemn the police assault with rubber bullets, intense tear gas and sound bombs on Gezi Park at a time where the park was populated with women, children and the elderly,” said Taksim Solidarity, an umbrella group of protesters.
As police cleared the area, many protesters ran into nearby hotels for shelter. A stand-off developed at a luxury hotel on the edge of the park, where police opened up with water cannons against protesters and journalists outside before throwing tear gas at the entrance, filling the lobby with white smoke.
As the gas settled, bulldozers moved into the park, scooping up debris, while workmen tore down the tents, food centers and library the protesters had set up.
Huseyin Celik, spokesman for Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, told NTV the sit-in had to end.
“They had made their voice heard ... Our government could not have allowed such an occupation to go on until the end,” he said.