Protests spread in SE Turkey after two protesters die

Monday, June 09, 2014

Protesters clash with Turkish security forces in the southeast following the death of two protesters in the Diyarbakir province

Protesters clash with Turkish security forces in the southeast following the death of two protesters in the Diyarbakir province

ANKARA - More violent protests erupted on Monday after two protesters were killed during an illegal protest against the construction of a military outpost in the southeastern Lice district of Diyarbakir on Saturday.

Two protesters died when security forces intervened in the demonstration held by a pro-Kurdish group that attempted to block the road between Diyarbakir and Bingol provinces, hurling hand-made grenades and stones at security forces. 

Abdulbaki Akdemir, 50, and Ramazan Baran, 24, died when security forces retaliated against some masked members of the group, fuelling further protests amongst the Kurdish people.  

In southeastern Cizre district of Sirnak, a group of pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) supporters staged a sit-in protest against the deaths on Saturday.

However, several masked protesters who emerged from the side streets of the district erected a barricade on the streets and stopped passing cars to hold illegal identification checks.  Protesters who hurled stun grenades, molotov cocktails, fireworks and stones were warned by police officers to leave the scene and were dispersed by water cannon and tear gas.

Additionally, the police found and neutralized an unexploded camp cylinder bomb placed on the Cizre Bridge in the district. 

Intermittent clashes have continued since late May in the Lice district where protesters were allegedly revolting against the construction of a military outpost.

Protests also took place in the southeastern Suruc district of Sanliurfa where a group of protesters rallied and attacked security forces with stones and glass bottles. The protesters, who toppled down rubbish containers and set fire to tyres in the streets, faced police intervention. 

Earlier on Monday, a protest in the eastern province of Tunceli where masked protesters threw molotov cocktails and stones at the police officers guarding police barracks, were cracked down by police water cannon and no casualties were reported from the protest.

In eastern province of Agri, hundreds of protesters staged a sit-in protest and closed the traffic. Protesters threw stones at the police who attempted to break up the sit-in demonstration to open the traffic flow and resulted in the detention of seven protesters. 

Clashes were also reported from Bornova district of the western port city of Izmir where protesters erected barricades and hurled molotov cocktails at police cars.   

In addition, a group of students held a protest at Kocaeli University and chanted slogans protesting against the deadly incidents in Lice. Turkish riot police detained 17 protesters.

Meanwhile, a car was stopped at a security checkpoint located in Silvan district of Diyarbakir late on Sunday. Security forces took six people including one teenager to the station to be interviewed. The teenager claimed he was being taken to a rural area - a typical tactic applied by the outlawed pro-Kurdish militant group recently to recruit young PKK members. The five others said they were paying a visit to a funeral service in Lice.

Late on Sunday, five injured people were taken to Lice district hospital allegedly due to an explosion of a gas-cylinder, which was later ascertained to have been caused while preparing a hand-made bomb. 

Diyarbakir governor’s office said in a statement last week that PKK’s militants and affiliate groups since May 24 had engaged in kidnappings, roadblocks and attacked security forces with home-made explosives and firebombs.

The mass protests came after the terrorist organization PKK reportedly kidnapped an unknown number of children on April 23, the national day for children, with the intent to destabilize the delicate 'solution process' to end terrorism and address the issues of Kurdish people in Turkey. 

Families of some of the kidnapped children staged sit-ins in Diyarbakir where they were abducted, marking the first-ever public reaction to such kidnappings in the southeastern region. The sit-ins received support from high-ranking government officials.

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