Protesters run from water cannon and tear gas used by riot police to disperse them during a protest in Istanbul, Dec. 20, 2015. Osman Orsal/Reuters

ISTANBUL — Turkish police fired tear gas to disperse several hundred protesters in Istanbul's main Taksim square demonstrating against security operations and curfews in the southeast, Reuters witnesses said on Sunday.

Dozens of riot police with protective gear chased protesters into side streets, pushing pedestrians aside as shoppers and tourists on the busy street watched. At least two protesters were detained and shops began closing shutters.

The Turkish military launched a large-scale offensive in the mainly Kurdish southeast last week in a campaign that President Tayyip Erdogan said will continue until the region is 'cleansed of' Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants. Some 110 militants were killed within 6 days of fighting, the army said.