Police have blocked hundreds of journalists from marching in Istanbul to demand press freedoms and denounce the harassment of colleagues during a spate of anti-government demonstrations last month.

Journalists were detained or targeted by police while covering the nearly three weeks of protests, and some who sided with protesters were sacked or resigned.

The journalists on Friday planned to walk to a main square but were prevented by police. They staged a brief sit-in before dispersing.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government has shown little tolerance of dissent and dozens of journalists have been jailed or fired since it came to power a decade ago.

Erdogan's government insists it is committed to democracy, citing reforms that reduced the use of torture and increased the rights of the country's Kurdish minority.