MGN Online

Published: Jun 11, 2013 11:26 PM EDT

ISTANBUL (AP) - Clashes have continued into the early hours of Wednesday in Istanbul.
    
Riot police have been firing tear gas, water cannon and rubber bullets in an effort to remove demonstrators from central Taksim Square and its adjacent Gezi Park. Protesters have been scrambling to get away from the choking chemicals. But, as soon as the police move on, the protesters are moving back in.
    
The anti-government protests have left Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (REH'-jehp TY'-ihp UR'-doh-wahn) looking vulnerable for the first time in a decade in power.
    
On Tuesday, Erdogan again insisted that the unrest is part of a conspiracy against his government by "financial institutions" seeking to scare off investors.
    
The protests were sparked by outrage over a violent police crackdown on May 31 against a peaceful sit-in against the park's redevelopment. They have since spread to 78 cities across Turkey, with protesters denouncing what they say is the prime minister's increasingly authoritarian style.
    
The Turkish Human Rights Foundation says four people have been killed, including a policeman, and about 5,000 have been treated for injuries or the effects of tear gas.