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As I was writing a diary to post today I was watching on TV as major protests were beginning in Istanbul again.

Thousands were approaching Taksim Square and there is news that (and TV reports showing) many thousands more on the way.

There were thousands of police waiting at the entrances to Taksim Square.

But, suddenly the police have stopped firing tear gas and pulled back, allowing the protesters into the square.

The protesters have taken over the square.

The police behind the protesters suddenly begin firing a large number of tear gas cannisters but those in command ordered them to stop.

Right now it's quiet. More protesters are arriving but there are thousands of police off to the sides.

Huge amounts of tear gas is being shot at the protesters again.

And now they have stopped again.

Now many more protesters are entering the square.

Update: It's not clear what is happening. The police pulled back and let the protesters occupy the square but the police have continued to provoke the protesters - sometimes shooting tear gas, often driving their tank-like vehicles through the protesters, sometimes using pressurized water cannons.

Huge numbers of protesters now occupy Taksim Square.

Update: It seems that the President of Turkey has stepped in. Reportedly he has communicated to the government, diplomatically, that this shouldn't be happening.

Soldiers had to be called in today to shore up security around the Prime Minister's office in Ankara.

- * - * - * - * -

This is the text I was writing.

Why?

The people of Turkey, as do the people in many other countries, like a strong leadership.

They like to leave the running of their villages, towns, cities and country in the hands of a leader and go on with their lives. And usually limit their involvement to voting once every four or five years.

And if that leader does an OK job and has a populist swagger that's OK, and he or she just might stay in office for quite some time.

But there is a point where a strong leader can turn into an arrogant leader.

People like to hear 'We're doing this for you.'

And they'll often turn a blind eye to 'We're doing this for you (and putting our own people in place to run it).'

'After all don't most politicians do that? The next one to come will replace them with his or her people anyway.' can often be heard.

And they'll put up with, for a time, 'We're doing this for you (and putting our own people in place to run it, and we'll fiddle with it so that we or our clique will make a whole lot of money off of it).'

'Well, ... at least he or she is doing it for us.' will be grumbled.

But when it gets to 'We're doing this for you (and putting our own people in place to run it, and we'll fiddle with it so that we or our clique will make a whole lot of money off of it, WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT).' - that's when the worm turns.

And that is what is happening now.

Will the Turkish government be able to turn things around and shed itself of the 'whether you like it our not' image it is saddled with?

I don't know.

Will the government continue with its current stance and behavior causing protests to grow so large that it is forced to call elections?

Maybe.

Am I worried that this might grow deadly?

Yes, very much so. Events yesterday were right on the edge of that precipice.

But at the same time I have seen indications that some in the police are not happy with being ordered to do what they are doing.

Originally posted to InAntalya on Sat Jun 01, 2013 at 06:15 AM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges and Adalah — A Just Middle East.

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