Berkin Elvan, who has been in a coma since June 2013 after being struck in the head by a gas canister during a police crackdown on protesters, died Monday. Clashes with the police erupted outside the hospital after the news broke.
“To our people: We lost our son Berkin Elvan at 7 am in the morning. Condolences to us all,” Elvan's parents said in the message.
The young teenager, the eighth person to be killed in the Gezi Park protests, went into a coma after sustaining a head injury from a gas canister as he went to buy bread during a police crackdown in Istanbul’s Okmeydanı neighborhood last June. Elvan has since become one of the prime symbols violence faced by protesters throughout the nationwide Gezi demonstrations.
He had only turned 15 in January while still in a coma. A ceremony will be held at a cemevi in Okmeydanı before the burial in Feriköy cemetery on March 12.
Scores of people gathered in front of the hospital where Elvan was convalescent for over nine months, in a show of solidarity with the family upon calls on social media.
Tension rose between a group of demonstrators and the police after the news broke, with the police again resorting to tear gas regardless of the fact that the hospital's entrance was nearby.
“Riot police arrived in front of the hospital as the funeral was ongoing to be sent to the forensics department. Some people also went that way and protested against the police. A scuffle occurred. The police officers did not restrain themselves at all from using gas. They once again used disproportionate force,” said Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Istanbul lawmaker Melda Onur, who was participating in the vigil. "Tear gas even entered inside the hospital," she added.
Date created : 2014-03-11