Clashes erupt in Turkey after funeral of teenager
Updated: 2014-03-13 11:36
Anti-government protesters are seen behind a barricade that they set on fire, during a demonstration in Istanbul March 12, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]
ISTANBUL -- Clashes erupt between protesters and police in several cities in Turkey on Wednesday following a funeral of a 15-year-old student who died Tuesday of wound that he sustained during mass anti-government protests last year.
More than 50,000 people attended the funeral ceremony of Berkin Elvan in Istanbul. After the funeral, protesters staged anti- government rallies in more than 10 cities and demanded resignation of the government.
Riot police dispersed the protesters in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Eskisehir with water cannons, rubber bullets and tear gas. More than 70 people were detained in Ankara.
The protesters shouted at the riot police "police do not betray your own people," and "Berkin Elvan is immortal."
Istanbul's Taksim Square saw a massive gathering for the first time after the anti-government protests in June last year. Since then the riot police has been blocking the square and Gezi Park with water cannons and armored vehicles to prevent the protesters from entering the symbol of the demonstration movement.
However, thousands of protesters managed to gather in Taksim Square on Wednesday.
Police tried to disperse the crowd in the square by firing rubber bullets and tear gas while protesters responded by throwing fireworks.
Berkin Elvan was going to buy bread when he was shot in the head by riot police in Okmeydan district of Istanbul on June 16, 2013 and he had been in intensive care unit in hospital for 269 days.
His death raised the toll from the Gezi Park protests to eight, including a police officer.
The protests broke out as a peaceful demonstration on May 30 against a redevelopment plan of Istanbul's Gezi Park. However, it then spread into a nationwide wave of demonstration against the central government.