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Police Brutality Sparks Police Brutality in Turkey

Istanbul was a battleground again after Berkin Elvan passed away.

by Barbaros Kayan
12 March 2014, 11:39am

Nine months ago, Berkin Elvan was hit in the head with a tear-gas canister shot by Turkish riot police during widespread anti-government protests. Last night, after 269 days in a coma, he passed away, and his death provoked scenes reminiscent of the day he was shot.

Elvan was walking to buy bread when he was hit. He became a symbol of the police's brutal response to the uprising, which saw thousands hurt and seven deaths, before Elvan's passing pushed the toll to eight. When the news was announced on Tuesday morning, protesters joined the mourning family outside Elvan's hospital in Istanbul. Riot police showed up too, which some of the protesters took as a provocation, attacking their van.

Protests continued into the night with people holding bread aloft to symbolise Elvan's innocence. Rocks were thrown at the police and bins were burned. The police got the tear gas out again and – having apparently learned nothing – reportedly hit someone in the face with another canister.

Two thousand people gathered to protest in the capital Ankara and there were demonstrations in Antalya and Izmir, too.

The country remains on edge ahead of Elvan's funeral today.