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Continued: Despite being ousted from Istanbul park, protesters return to defy prime minister's authority

  • Article by: ELENA BECATOROS , Associated Press
  • Last update: June 17, 2013 - 12:05 AM

Labor unions called for a one-day strike that would include doctors, lawyers, engineers and civil servants in support of the protesters. Strikes, however, often have little visible impact on daily life in Turkey.

In a potentially worrying development suggestive of a possible escalation in the violence, Erdogan said two police officers had been injured by bullets fired during the overnight unrest.

"(One) was shot with a bullet in the stomach, the other was shot in the leg," he said.

On Sunday, TV footage showed police detaining white-jacketed medical personnel who had been helping treat injured protesters, leading them away with their hands cuffed behind their backs.

Istanbul Gov. Huseyin Avni Mutlu denied they were medical staff.

"They wore doctors' white coats but had nothing to do with medicine or health. In fact, one of them had seven separate criminal records for theft," he said on his Twitter account, contradicting earlier comments in which he had said several doctors had been detained.

Amnesty International noted that the health minister had previously stated that the improvised infirmaries set up by protesters to treat those injured in clashes or during police intervention were illegal and that doctors could face prosecution.

"It is completely unacceptable that doctors should be threatened with prosecution for providing medical attention for people in need," Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International's researcher on Turkey, said in a statement. "The doctors must be released immediately and any threat to prosecute them removed."

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