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Protesters in Istanbul break Ramadan fast

Tuesday - 7/9/2013, 3:39pm  ET

Thousands of people sit on Istiklal Avenue, the main shopping road of Istanbul, in Istanbul, Turkey, Tuesday, July 9, 2013. Thousands of people broke the fast on the first day of Ramadan in a kind of spontaneous form of protest sitting in a queue of some hundred meters from Galatasaray University to Taksim Square on the street chanting slogans while eating together. (AP Photo/Gero Breloer)

ISTANBUL (AP) -- Thousands of anti-government protesters have broken their fast for the holy month of Ramadan by sitting down for a meal along a main Istanbul pedestrian street.

As a police water cannon stood watch, the protesters on Tuesday laid newspapers and table cloths on the ground along Istiklal street for a makeshift Ramadan banquet that stretched some 500 meters (yards) toward the city's landmark Taksim Square.

Devout Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset at Ramadan.

Turkey was hit by a wave of protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted government in June, sparked by a heavy-handed police crackdown on an environmental sit-in at a park near Taksim.

There have been sporadic demonstrations since June. Police broke up protests by thousands wanting to reach the park on Saturday and Monday.

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