Clashes in Istanbul kill two during protest

Fighting erupts in the Okmeydani district of Istanbul during demonstration against Soma mine tragedy and death of Berkin Elvan. Nine people, including two protesters, a police chief and six of his officers, were injured when the grenade was thrown, the city's police department said.

Clashes in Istanbul kill two during protest

World Bulletin / News Desk

A second person died on Friday after clashes between Turkish police and protesters in a working-class district of Istanbul, stirring fears of further unrest as the anniversary of last year's anti-government demonstrations approaches.

Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu called for calm "for the security of the nation" after protesters throwing petrol bombs and stones clashed with riot police in the city's Okmeydani district on Thursday.

Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government will be anxious to avoid a repeat of last summer's scenes, when a police crackdown on a demonstration against the redevelopment of an Istanbul park at the end of May triggered weeks of street protests in major cities.

The Okmeydani unrest has so far showed little sign of spreading to other parts of Istanbul, including its central Taksim Square, an epicentre of last year's troubles which has been guarded by a small contingent of riot police ever since.

"Everyone must help bring the situation back to normal. We need calm, we need to act in a calm manner for the security of Istanbul and of the nation," Mutlu told reporters, warning residents to be on their guard against "provocations".

A bystander, Ugur Kurt, who was attending a relative's funeral, was shot in the head apparently by a stray bullet as the violence flared on Thursday. His death in hospital overnight triggered renewed clashes in which a second person, as yet unidentified, was killed by a home-made grenade, Mutlu said.

"Some people are engaged in an effort to escalate these events ... I am calling on every citizen to be wary," he said.

Nine people, including two protesters, a police chief and six of his officers, were injured when the grenade was thrown, the city's police department said.

Thursday's disturbances began when a group of some 10 to 15 people began chanting slogans about a youth, Berkin Elvan, who died in March after clashes with police, and about the mine disaster last week in which 301 people died.

Elvan, 15, died after nine months in a coma from a head wound sustained during an anti-government protest in Okmeydani. Thousands clashed with police in Istanbul when he was buried.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told parliament that prosecutors would investigate Kurt's death.

Last Mod: 23 Mayıs 2014, 14:24
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