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DİYARBAKIR - ISTANBUL

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Mehmet Ezer receives treatment after becoming the latest child to be struck in the head by a police tear-gas canister.

Mehmet Ezer receives treatment after becoming the latest child to be struck in the head by a police tear-gas canister.

A 10-year-old child was seriously injured during a protest in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on March 25 after he was allegedly hit by a tear-gas canister fired by police.

After the Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) electoral rally in the Azizoğlu Square in the Silvan district, a masked group allegedly pelted police with stones and shot fireworks at them, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported. As police attacked back with tear gas and water cannon, "an object" hit the head of Mehmet Ezer, 10, the agency reported.

Witnesses said Ezer was hit by a tear gas canister, while Gülten Kışanak, the co-leader of the BDP, went to Diyarbakır Dicle University hospital where the injured child was treated. Doctors announced that Ezer's injury was still life-threatening but that they had managed to stop the bleeding.

Leyla Zana, an independent deputy from Diyarbakır, was among the Kurdish politicians who visited the hospital. Zana said she had a phone conversation with Interior Minister Efkan Ala. According to Zana, Ala told her that an investigation was underway and an investigator would arrive in Diyarbakır on Wednesday.

Under close supervision

On the morning of March 26, doctors said Ezer’s condition was showing improvement and he had regained consciousness, adding that he remained under close medical supervision in the intensive care unit.

The doctors also said the 10-year-old had been able to talk with Zana at the hospital.

Daily Evrensel reporter Faruk Ayyıldız reported on March 26 that Ezer's condition remained serious but that the signs were positive, adding that doctors had said the first 24 hours would be critical in determining the boy's chances for recovery.

Diyarbakır Gov. Mustafa Cahit Kıraç and Agriculture Minister Mehdi Eker met with Ezer's family on the morning of March 26 , during which the boy's relatives demanded that those responsible for the incident be found. Kıraç, meanwhile, reportedly blamed the family for the incident, saying the parents should have taken better care of their child, according to Ayyıldız.

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chair Umut Oran tweeted about the incident, repeating the claim that Ezer was hit by a tear gas canister. "We're very sad," he said. 

Fourteen-year-old Berkin Elvan was shot by a tear gas canister during last year's Gezi Park protests and died March 11 at the age of 15 after spending 269 days in a coma, becoming a symbol of police violence in Turkey.

According to reports, important leads have been found in the investigations into the deaths of Elvan and Burak Can Karamanoğlu, who was killedby unknown assailants after Elvan’s funeral in Istanbul's Okmeydanı neighborhood March 12.

March/25/2014

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