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Turkey violence rages into 4th day after police crackdown on environmental protest

Updated at 7:28 a.m. Eastern

Istanbul Violence has flared in Istanbul between a group of demonstrators and police on the fourth day of protests set off by a brutal police crackdown of a peaceful environmental protest.

The private Dogan news agency said police fired tear gas at the group in an area close to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Istanbul offices on Monday. The protesters responded by hurling stones.

The agency said as many as 500 protesters were detained overnight Monday after police broke up a protests by several thousands of people in the capital Ankara. Turkey's Fox television reported 300 others detained in a similar crackdown in Izmir, Turkey's third largest city.

The demonstrations that grew out of anger over excessive police force have spiraled into Turkey's biggest anti-government demonstrations in years, challenging Erdogan's power.

CBS News correspondent Holly Williams reports that the demonstration which police crushed, sparking the protests, was a relatively small one over plans to bulldoze a park and replace it with a shopping center. But thousands of Turks have become increasingly angry at Erdogan for what the nation's less-conservative and secular citizens see as moves to foist his conservative brand of Islam on the country.

Williams says many Turks feel Erdogan has been conducting himself more like a dictator than the democratically elected leader of a major country on the edge of Europe.

Erdogan, reports Williams, has made it clear he has no intentions of changing his policies.

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