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Turkish Police Clash with Kurdish Protesters

  • VOA News

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) leader Selahattin Demirtas (C) argues with Turkish riot policemen on July 14, 2012, in Diyarbakir.

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) leader Selahattin Demirtas (C) argues with Turkish riot policemen on July 14, 2012, in Diyarbakir.

Police in southeastern Turkey used tear gas and water cannons to drive back Kurdish protesters hurling stones at them Saturday, at a rally in support of a Kurdish militant leader.

Local authorities had refused to give permission for Saturday's demonstration in the city of Diyarbakir, where the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party sought to gather supporters of Abdullah Ocalan. Several police officers and at least one BDP lawmaker were injured.

Ocalan, a founder of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, is serving a life sentence in prison for forming what is internationally considered to be a terrorist organization.

Elsewhere, in Van province near the border with Iran, a roadside bomb exploded Saturday, injuring at least 10 police officers. No one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

More than 40,000 people have been killed since the PKK took up arms in 1984 to demand a separate, Kurdish state.
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