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Turkish Police, Kurdish Protesters Clash on Ocalan Anniversary


Police in Turkey have clashed with thousands of protesters in the predominantly Kurdish southeast as they held demonstrations to mark the 10th anniversary of the capture of a Kurdish rebel leader.

Turkish authorities say at least 20 people, including police, were injured in Sunday's skirmishes, and more than 50 people were detained.

The largest protest was held in the city of Diyarbakir, where at least 2,500 people marched against the continued detention of the founder of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, Abdullah Ocalan.

Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the Diyarbakir rally. Some protesters threw stones at the police.

Ocalan was captured on February 15, 1999, in Kenya and later transferred to Turkey. He was sentenced to death for treason, but his sentence was later commuted to life in prison.

Ocalan has been kept in solitary confinement on an island jail off Istanbul. His supporters accuse Turkish authorities of abusing him in prison, a charge officials deny.

The Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, has been fighting for Kurdish autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984. At least 37,000 people have been killed in the conflict. The PKK is labeled a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.


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