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New violence breaks out in eastern Turkey

Latest update : 2008-03-24

Protesters and police clashed violently in two mainly Kurdish cities in Turkey's eastern region following the death of two Kurdish protesters on the weekend.

Several people were injured Monday as fresh violence erupted in two Turkish cities following the deaths of two Kurdish protestors at the weekend, security sources and witnesses said.
   
Clashes broke out in Van, in eastern Turkey, when thousands of protesters tried to march through the streets to denounce the death of a 35-year-old man from a bullet wound he sustained during a protest at the weekend.
   
Police used batons on Monday to beat back the demonstrators -- members of Turkey's main Kurdish party, the Democratic Society Party -- in Van on the ground that their march was illegal.
   
Witnesses said the ensuing scuffles left several protestors injured while several others were detained.
   
There were similar scenes in Yuksekova town in the country's southeast, where demonstrators protested a heavy police clampdown on a similar gathering in the town over the weekend which left a 20-year-old man dead.
   
Riot police used tear gas on the protestors who pelted officers with stones. Some reporters were injured in the clashes, witnesses said.
   
Dozens of people have been detained at the weekend in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast where celebrations to mark March 21 -- Newroz Day, or the Kurdish new year -- degenerated into protests in favour of the armed separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Ankara lists as a terrorist group.
   
More than 37,000 people have been killed since 1984 when the The PKK took up arms for self-rule in Turkey's southeast.
   
Newroz is a traditional platform for Turkey's Kurds to demonstrate support for rebels and demand broader rights. Celebrations have been relatively calm in recent years, but in 1992 about 50 people died in clashes in the southeast.
   
More recently, in 2002, two men were crushed to death in a police crackdown on violent Newroz demonstrations in the southern city of Mersin.
 

Date created : 2008-03-24

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