Cyprus Mail

Nine injured in protests after fatal shooting in Istanbul – police (updated)

Turkish riot police use a water cannon to disperse protestors during a protest against the government, in Istanbul, Turkey, 22 May 2014


Two protesters and seven policemen were injured in clashes in Istanbul overnight following the fatal shooting of a bystander, the city’s police department said on Friday.

The bystander, 30-year-old Ugur Kurt, was attending a relative’s funeral on Thursday when he was shot as police clashed with protesters throwing petrol bombs and stones in Okmeydani district, which has seen frequent unrest.

The violence comes almost a year after protests in central Istanbul triggered a summer of nationwide anti-government demonstrations that challenged the decade-long rule of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

Thursday’s disturbances began when a group of some 10 to 15 people began chanting slogans about a youth, Berkin Elvan, who died in March after clashes with police, and about a mine disaster last week in which 301 people died.

Kurt died of his wounds in hospital late on Thursday, prompting renewed anger on the streets.

“A fragmentation grenade was thrown at security forces on Thursday evening, injuring two citizens, one of them heavily, one police chief and six police officers,” Istanbul police said on its website.

Okmeydani is a working-class district in central Istanbul that is home to members of Turkey’s Alevi religious minority, who follow an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam, unlike Turkey’s Sunni majority, and often attracts left-wing protests.

Elvan, 15, died after nine months in a coma from a head wound sustained during an anti-government protest in Okmeydani. Thousands clashed with police in Istanbul when he was buried.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc told parliament that prosecutors would investigate Kurt’s death.

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