Turkish riot police fought running battles with pockets of protesters overnight, clearing the central Istanbul square that has been the focus of nearly two weeks of protests against Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.
By dawn, Taksim Square, strewn with wreckage from bulldozed barricades, was largely deserted and taxis crossed it for the first time since the troubles started. Several hundred remained in an endampment of tents in Gezi Park abutting the square.
Erdogan, who has repeatedly dismissed the demonstrators as "riff-raff", was expected to meet a grouping of public figures about the protests on Wednesday. In the fighting talk that first endeared him to voters 10 years ago, he said on Tuesday he would not "kneel" before the protesters and that "this Tayyip Erdogan won't change".
(Read More: Turkish Turmoil: Scenes From Turkey's Protests)
The United States, which has held up Erdogan's Turkey in the past as an example of Muslim democracy that could benefit other countries in the Middle East, expressed concern about events in Turkey and urged dialogue between government and protesters.
"We believe that Turkey's long-term stability, security and prosperity is best guaranteed by upholding the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly and association, and a free independent media," White House spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said.
Erdogan, though, has increasingly accused foreign forces and international media and market speculators of stoking conflict and trying to undermine the economy of the only largely Muslim NATO state.
He has also exerted strong pressure on the media, seven newspapers last week carrying the identical headline citing Erdogan as saying he, not the protesters, guaranteed democracy.
The night had brought some of the worst clashes since the troubles began. Police fired tear gas into thousands of people gathered on the square,including people in office clothes who had gathered after work, some with families with children.
The crowd scattered into narrow streets around, leaving a hard core of protesters to return, lighting bonfires and stoning water cannon. Police then launched tear gas attacks again, the cycle repeating itself until numbers dwindled.