People shout anti-government slogans during a rally by the labor unions in Istanbul, Turkey, Monday, June 17, 2013. A day earlier, riot police cordoned off streets, set up roadblocks and fired tear gas and water cannons to prevent anti-government protesters from an effort to return to Taksim Square in Istanbul. Labor unions and political foes of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan rallied Monday by the thousands across Turkey, hoping to capitalize on weeks of protest that began as small-scale activism and parlay it into a chance to register broader discontent.(AP Photo)
ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will increase police powers following a wave of anti-government protests.
The announcement came Tuesday as police carried out raids and detained dozens of people suspected of involvement in violence against officers.
The government has been criticized for the disproportionate use of force by the police in anti-government protests that swept Turkey for over two weeks. It was a brutal operation against peaceful environmental protesters in Istanbul park on May 31 that sparked nationwide demonstrations and dented Erdogan's international image.
Erdogan defended the police saying they had acted with restraint and within their "rights."
Erdogan said: "We shall strengthen police ... so that it has increased powers of intervention."
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