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Kurdish Protesters Clash With Turkish Authorities Over Civilian Deaths


Ethnic Kurds clashed with authorities in southeastern Turkey Saturday, three days after a government air strike killed 35 civilians mistaken for Kurdish rebels.

Police used batons and tear gas to disperse crowds of angry protesters and make arrests in the region's main city of Diyarbakir and several other locations. Protesters threw stones and molotov cocktails at police cars and officers.

Protesters attacked district governor Naif Yavuz during an official visit to the village of Uludere where the victims were buried Friday.

Peaceful protests took place elsewhere in the Kurdish-populated region.

The government has promised to conduct a full investigation into the Wednesday strikes by Turkish jets. The army says it was targeting Kurdish rebels, but the victims turned out to be local smugglers and villagers.

Clashes between Kurdish rebels and the army have escalated in recent months. The military launched an operation on militant bases inside Iraq in October after the armed group Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, killed 24 soldiers in a border attack.

The PKK campaign for an independent homeland has claimed more than 40,000 lives since it began in 1984.

Turkey, the European Union and the United States regard the PKK as a terrorist group.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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