Thousands protest after teen’s funeral in Turkey

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have gathered in Turkey after the funeral of a teenager who died from injuries he sustained in police confrontation last year.

On Wednesday, riot police fired tear gas and used water cannons to disperse protesters who marched in Istanbul after the funeral of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan.

Clashes broke out as police forces attempted to prevent protesters from gathering at the city’s iconic Taksim Square.

Police forces also clashed with demonstrators who had gathered to pay respects to the teenager in the Turkish capital, Ankara. They also called for the resignation of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Elvan died on March 11, nine months after he was hit by a police tear gas canister during anti-government protests. The teenager had been in a coma since last June.

Following his death, clashes broke out between protesters and riot police in Istanbul.

Clashes also took place in Ankara where police fired tear gas and used water cannons to break up crowds of demonstrators.

Anti-government protests started in mid-2013, when Turkish police broke up a sit-in held at Istanbul’s Taksim Square against a proposal to demolish Gezi Park.

The violence turned into nationwide demonstrations against the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK) and Erdogan, with police using water cannons, teargas, and rubber bullets against the demonstrators.

Berkin’s death raised the number of fatalities from last summer’s anti-government protests in Turkey to at least eight, including a police officer. Thousands of others have also been injured.

After nearly a year of anti-government protests, Erdogan announced on March 5 that he would be willing to step down from power if his ruling AK party fails to win the upcoming local elections.

(Source / 12.03.2014)

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