Turkey charges 255 over anti-govt protests: Media

ISTANBUL (AFP) - Turkish prosecutors have charged 255 protesters, including seven foreigners, over the mass demonstrations that swept the country in June, local media reported on Tuesday.

Those indicted face a range of charges including violating laws on demonstrations, damaging a place of worship and protecting criminals, Hurriyet newspaper said.

There was no immediate confirmation from judicial authorities and the nationalities of the foreigners were not immediately known.

At least six people died and 8,000 people were hurt in the three weeks of anti-government unrest that posed the biggest challenge to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule.

The demonstrations were sparked by a police crackdown on a peaceful sit-in to save Istanbul's Gezi park from being razed to make way for a development project.

The environmental protests spiralled into a mass outpouring of anger against Erdogan, who critics say is an increasingly authoritarian and polarising leader after 11 years in office.

Some of the protesters in Istanbul had taken refuge in the Dolmabahce mosque on the banks of the Bosphorus near the Ottoman palace Erdogan uses as his office in the city.

Erdogan had accused some demonstrators of entering the mosque armed with beer bottles, although this was denied by the imam.

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