Police crack down on protesters mourning Berkin Elvan in Ankara
Riot police in Ankara fire water cannon to disperse demonstrators gathered to mark the Berkin Elvan's funeral. REUTERS photoPolice have cracked down on hundreds of protesters who gathered in central Ankara to mourn Berkin Elvan, the 15-year-old teenager who died yesterday after spending nine months in a coma due to a gas canister injury.
The crowd, including high school students and members of the Ankara Bar Association, flocked to the central district of Kızılay as Elvan’s funeral proceeded in Istanbul.
However, police did not allow the peaceful protest and resorted to water cannon and tear gas to disperse the crowd.
Earlier today, another police crackdown was staged in the Tuzluçayır neighborhood, one of the hot spots of protests in Ankara. Three people are injured and 71 people, including 25 children, have been arrested, according to the figures provided by Ankara Bar Association.
Police had resorted to heavy-handed crackdowns during the Gezi protests in the Turkish capital last summer to prevent protesters marching on Parliament and other institutions.
Police in İzmir also fired teargas and water cannon on around 2,000 who had gathered in a joint mourning event of various unions and associations. According to reports, protesters moved to the area in front of the Governor’s Office after the intervention. İzmir Mayor Aziz Kocaoğlu warned on March 11 that the municipality would refuse to provide the police with water if they continued using water cannon against protesters.
Meanwhile, in the southwestern province of Denizli police also used water cannon to disperse students during a heavy-handed crackdown at Pamukkale University as they gathered to remember Elvan. Police also detained the provincial co-chair of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), Eren Saran, during operations.