Turkey's anti-government protesters break Ramadan fast together with big Istanbul street dinner


A protestor waves the Turkish flag from a roof top at Taksim square on June 3, 2013 in Istanbul, Turkey. The protests began initially over the fate of Taksim Gezi Park, one of the last significant green spaces in the center of the city.



Thousands of anti-government protesters in Turkey broke the Muslim Ramadan fast together by way of a huge street-side dinner in Istanbul, according to the Associated Press.

Protests broke out last month over the planned redevelopment of a beloved public park in Istanbul, but demonstrations quickly spread throughout the nation in a wide rebuke to the rule of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamist-leaning government. 

Protests have continued in recent weeks despite a harsh crackdown by the authorities. 

According to the AP, policemen armed with water cannons watched as protesters set a huge table stretching for hundreds of yards along Istanbul's Istiklal street for the Ramadan meal. Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during the holy month of Ramadan. 

The dinner event was organized by various Muslim groups allied with the protest movement and was meant to boost solidarity among demonstrators, said Reuters

"I hope the state will understand what these people have been trying to say with the protests," 23-year-old student Ozge Dogu told Reuters. "It is a constitutional right to enter a public space and protest," she added. 

Turkish police used tear gas and water cannons on Monday to prevent demonstrators from entering the park that originally sparked the movement, said Reuters