Violent clashes in Turkey have meant sleepless nights for one Winnipeg woman.

"I hope it's not going to turn to civil war or something," said Cagla Cagmak, as Turkish riot police continued on Tuesday to use tear gas, water cannons, and rubber bullets as tens of thousands of people protest in Istanbul’s Taksim Square.

Cagmak, president of the Turkish Students Association at the University of Manitoba, said many of her friends are in Istanbul's main Taksim Square, protesting against the Turkish prime minister.

Turkey has seen violent demonstrations since May 31, when police launched a pre-dawn raid against a peaceful sit-in protesting plans to cut down trees in Taksim Square.

Since then, the demonstrations by mostly secular-minded Turks have spiraled into Turkey's biggest anti-government disturbances in years.

Cagmak has been glued to her computer, checking Facebook and Twitter.

"I can't sleep here. I can't leave my computer or phone," she said. 

Former CBC reporter and current director of Indigenous Inclusion at the University of Winnipeg, Wab Kinew, was on vacation in Turkey when the protests broke out.

CBC’s Larry Updike spoke with Kinew, to discuss what he’s witnessed while in Istanbul. Click on the player at the top left to hear the audio.

"We could feel the tear gas even inside our hotel," Kinew said.

"It's hard not to get swept up in the emotion. I mean, the people who are out there are predominantly young people, I would say the majority are under 30 years old.

They're young and according to Cagmak, they're determined to not back down.

"I'm proud of them. Even [though] they [are] attacked or injured by the police, they are still resisting they are still resisting. They are still going there," she said.

"They just want to be heard."