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A Funeral Resulted in Deaths in Turkey Yesterday

There were more deadly protests as Turks mourned teenage teargas victim, Berkin Elvan.

by Barbaros Kayan
13 March 2014, 12:40pm

Yesterday, thousands of people filled streets across Turkey to mourn the death of Berkin Elvan. The demonstrations following his death on Tuesday led to the deaths of two more people – a protester and a police officer. Fifteen-year-old Elvan was hit in the head with a teargas canister as he popped to the shops for some bread at the height of the social unrest in Turkey last year. That put him in a coma for nine months, during which he became a symbol of police brutality.

In Istanbul, people thronged in the streets to get a glimpse of Elvan's carnation-covered coffin and chanted, "Berkin's murderers are the AKP [ruling party] police!" on the way to a cemetery in the Kurtulus district. Some protesters tried to gather in Taksim Square, which didn't go down well with the police, whose efforts to stop them led to scuffles breaking out. Familiar scenes of cops firing tear gas and protesters throwing fireworks and barricades burning could be seen into the night, as bystanders looked on aghast from a hotel lobby. Later, a man was shot in clashes between opponents and supporters of the AKP Party.

Ankara looked pretty much the same, and a police officer died of a heart attack at a protest in the eastern province of Tunceli.

Tuesday saw protests in 32 cities and yesterday upped the pressure on Tayyip Erdogan once more, but the Prime Minister has insisted that he will only step down if he is voted out of power.

Update: This article was amended at 5.12PM on Thursday, March 13th. The man who died in Istanbul was shot, not hit in the head with a police teargas canister as had been previously reported. The police officer died in Tunceli, not Ankara, as was also previously reported.