MEDIA
06/11/2013 06:12 pm ET Updated Jun 11, 2013

CNN Breaks In With Rolling Coverage Of Taksim Square Protests

CNN was the first cable news network to break its regular programming schedule Tuesday afternoon with continuous live coverage of the violent clashes in Istanbul's Taksim Square.

Turkish riot police moved into Taksim Square on Tuesday to clear protesters. What started weeks ago as environmental demonstrations opposing the rebuilding of Gezi Park grew into anti-government protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The demonstrations grew violent on Tuesday when police reportedly unleashed water cannons and tear gas on protesters in a stand-off that had been occurring for at least 15 hours. Protesters reportedly threw rocks at the police.

CNN U.S. went into simulcast with CNN International around 1:30 p.m, which included Christiane Amanpour anchoring from 3-4:00 p.m. Nick Paton Walsh reported live from Taksim Square and appeared on air wearing a gas mask. He said that his team had dimmed their camera lights to avoid drawing attention to their location. The network did not take a commercial break from 1:30 - 4:00 p.m. CNN's Arwa Damon also reported live from Istanbul.

Jake Tapper came on air to anchor the 4:00 p.m. "We know that many in Turkey are probably watching us right now because they do not trust the media broadcasts within their own country," Tapper said.

The Turkish media has been harshly criticized for failing to cover the recent anti-government protests. The Associated Press reported last week, "In a country where authorities have few qualms about jailing outspoken journalists, many have accused the media — particularly TV — of self-censorship, shying away from anything that could anger the establishment and Erdogan's government."

MSNBC and Fox News turned to the protests during Tuesday afternoon. NBC News' Richard Engel also appeared on air with a gas mask as he reported live from Istanbul. MSNBC and Fox News returned to their regular programming, updating viewers on the situation, while CNN remained in simulcast covering the violence in Taksim Square.

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