News / Europe

Violence Flares for Third Day Over Turkish Election Ban

Riot police clash with Kurdish protesters in the town of Bismil, near the southestern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, April 21, 2011
Riot police clash with Kurdish protesters in the town of Bismil, near the southestern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, April 21, 2011

Faced with growing street violence, Turkey's top election board on Thursday partially reversed its controversial decision barring 12 pro-Kurdish candidates from June elections.

Thousands of Kurds had taken to the streets earlier, throwing firebombs and stones at police during the funeral of a protester killed the day before during demonstrations over the banning of the Kurdish candidates.

Hundreds of police were present as the body of Ibrahim Oruc was taken from a mosque in Diyarbakir to be buried in nearby Bismil, where he was killed in Wednesday's violence.

For three days demonstrators had been protesting Monday's ruling by the High Election Board preventing 12 candidates from running in the national election.

On Thursday the board said at least six candidates would be allowed back on the ballot.

The Kurdish candidates were running as independents to avoid a Turkish law that requires political parties to win at least 10 percent of the overall vote in an election to win seats in Parliament, a barrier seen by many as a means of preventing Kurdish representation.  

The ban came as the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party is facing legal crackdowns, with nearly 2,000 party members detained on accusations of supporting militant Kurdish separatists.

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