Police step in on Ankara rally protests for dead teen
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
ANKARA -Â Police intervened in aÂ rally by protestersÂ angered by the death Tuesday of theÂ teenager who had been in a coma for 269 days since hisÂ injuryÂ during Gezi Park protests. The rally took place atÂ Middle Eastern Technical University (METU)Â in Turkey's capitalÂ Ankara.
15-year-oldÂ Berkin Elvan was reportedlyÂ going to buy bread when he was hit on the headÂ by a gas canister during a police crackdown in Okmeydani, Istanbul, in June 2013.
A group of protesters gatheredÂ at the university campus and began marchingÂ towards the headquarters of the rulingÂ Justice and Development (AK) Party.
Police headed off the protesters who blocked part of the traffic flow on one of Ankara's main streets.
As the protesters insisted on their marchÂ despite warning from security forces, police intervened to disperse the crowd with tear gas and water cannon.
Earlier on Tuesday, many relatives and friends of Elvan gathered outside the hospital in Istanbul upon learning of his death. Amidst the crowds gathered outside the hospital, security forces intervened with pepper spray against some groups that attacked policeÂ carsÂ with stone and sticks whileÂ formingÂ barricades with rubbish containers.
“Elvan had an epilepsy attack on March 7th, when his heart stopped for nearly 20 minutes,” the attorney said on Sunday adding that “Berkin who was 45 kilos when he was shot shrunk down toÂ 16 kilos.”
Just one day before the death of Elvan on Monday, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul called Sami Elvan,Â the father of the teenager, to express his sorrow relatingÂ to the events and to inform him that he was following closely the health situation of Berkin.
Gul also offered his condolences to the family of Elvan upon his death Tuesday, as well as Turkey's Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek.
Meanwhile, Turkey's Transport, Maritime and Communication MinisterÂ Lutfi Elvan also condoled with Elvan's family.
The Minister ofÂ Family and Social PoliciesÂ Aysenur Islam said, "We are doing our best to prevent the repetition of such events and to put an end toÂ social violence."
The leader ofÂ Turkey'sÂ main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu called Elvan's father andÂ gave his condolences as well asÂ Selahattin Demirtas, Chairman of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
Gezi ParkÂ protests, which started in June 2013 in reaction to a construction project inÂ Gezi ParkÂ in Taksim district ofÂ Istanbul, spread to several other cities leaving seven dead, including a policeman.
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