Two million marched, 417 arrested during Berkin Elvan protests as ‘disproportionate force’ probed
Fevzi KIZILKOYUN HÜRRİYET / ANKARA
Thousands of people attend the funeral of Berkin Elvan, the 15-year-old boy who died from injuries suffered during last year's anti-government protests, in Istanbul on March 12. AFP photo
The death of 15-year-old Gezi victim Berkin Elvan caused 2 million people from 53 provinces of Turkey to march in mourning and in protest over two days.
Police intervened in demonstrations in 13 provinces, as at least 52 civilians and 19 policemen were injured and security forces detained 417 people, according to figures collected by daily Hürriyet from different sources. In Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Mersin, marches and protests continued until morning.
The General Directorate of Security (EGM) has initiated a probe into claims of “disproportionate force,” excessive use of teargas” and potentially lethal use of teargas grenade guns by the police.
The investigation initiated by EGM into the allegedly disproportionate force used in the Gezi Park protests last summer had stalled before drawing any conclusions.
Policeman’s death also probed
The death of policeman Ahmet Küçüktağ will also reportedly be probed by EGM investigators in Tunceli. Küçüktağ died on March 12 after he reportedly fainted inside a police car. Doctors at the Tunceli State Hospital said Küçüktağ’s health condition worsened due to the effects of intense teargas used by the police against protesters, but this was subsequently denied by the police chief.
The EGM investigation was restarted only after the Dec. 17 anti-corruption probes, which led to the extensive reorganization of the police force triggered by the government’s campaign to eradicate “the parallel state,” referring to civil servants allegedly affiliated to the government’s ally-turned-nemesis, the Gülen movement.