Turkish police quell Kurd protests

Over 100 people are injured as spring festival celebrations turn violent.

    A number of people were injured as police broke up celebrations in the city of Van [AFP]

    According to the state-run Anatolia news agency quoting a local police chief, the worst clashes occurred in the southeastern city of Van where some 3,000 Kurds had gathered to celebrate Newroz, the Kurdish new year.
     
    Newroz is traditionally celebrated on March 21 and is often a flashpoint for clashes between Turkish forces and supporters of the PKK, the Kurdish independence movement that took up arms against Ankara in 1984.
     

    Rocks hurled

     

    Protesters hurled rocks at police who protected themselves with plastic shields, footage from the Turkish Cihan news agency showed.

     
    The agency footage also showed police firing tear gas and beating some of the protesters.
     
    Many of the protesters called out slogans supporting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the Anatolia news agency said.
     
    Police said the celebrations were unauthorised and demanded the demonstrators disperse.
     

    Mehmet Salih Kesmez, Van's police chief, said 130 people were detained and 53 others, including 15 policemen, were injured.

     
    Clashes with police
     
    Skirmishes also broke out during similar celebrations across Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeastern region on Friday.
     
    Clashes erupted between approximately 2,000 people and police near the city government building in Hakkari, in southeast Turkey.
     
    In nearby Siirt, three demonstrators and one police officer were injured after police used tear gas to try to break up more celebrations they said had gone ahead without permission.
     
    In Sanlurfa, local media reported that 93 protestors had been rounded up in similar unrest.
     
    In Viransehir, 16 people were detained after Molotov cocktails were hurled at the police, late on Friday. Police sources said nine police officers were also injured.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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