Police step in on Ankara rally protests for dead teen

ANKARA - Police intervened in a rally by protesters angered by the death Tuesday of the teenager who had been in a coma for 269 days since his injury during Gezi Park protests. The rally took place at Middle Eastern Technical University (METU) in Turkey's capital Ankara.

15-year-old Berkin Elvan was reportedly going to buy bread when he was hit on the head by a gas canister during a police crackdown in Okmeydani, Istanbul, in June 2013.

A group of protesters gathered at the university campus and began marching towards the headquarters of the ruling 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 march 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 police cars with stone and sticks while forming 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 to 16 kilos.”

Just one day before the death of Elvan on Monday, Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul called Sami Elvan, the father of the teenager, to express his sorrow relating 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 Minister Lutfi Elvan also condoled with Elvan's family.

The Minister of Family and Social Policies Aysenur Islam said, "We are doing our best to prevent the repetition of such events and to put an end to social violence."

The leader of Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaroglu called Elvan's father and gave his condolences as well as Selahattin Demirtas, Chairman of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

Gezi Park protests, which started in June 2013 in reaction to a construction project in Gezi Park in Taksim district of Istanbul, spread to several other cities leaving seven dead, including a policeman.

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