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Dozens arrested as Turkish police prevent rally following protester's death

Dozens arrested as Turkish police prevent rally following protester's death


by Naharnet Press Office over 9 years old


Turkish police arrested 60 people on Friday after they boarded two buses of protesters planning to demonstrate outside President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's presidential palace in Ankara, following the fatal injury of a protester during rallies against his rule in 2013 .

Police used pepper spray inside the bus and brutally arrested the protesters, members of the left-wing Popular Front group, an AFP photographer reported.

Television footage showed police punching and kicking as they arrested activists inside the bus.

The protesters sought to commemorate Berkin Elvan, a teenager who died in March 2014 after spending 269 days in a coma due to injuries inflicted by police during massive 2013 anti-government protests.

According to NTV television, 60 people were arrested.

The heavy-handed police action comes as Parliament prepares to debate a security bill strengthening police powers that critics say could turn the country into a police state.

Under the bill, police would be authorized to arrest, and even shoot, people suspected of possessing prohibited items at a protest, including Molotov cocktails, rocks and other sharp objects.

Debates on the bill are expected to begin on February 10 after being postponed from this week.

Its introduction follows violent protests in October in southeastern Turkey and Istanbul against Turkish policy in Syria, which left dozens dead.

Turkish authorities have repeatedly cracked down on attempted protests outside Erdogan's well-guarded palace, which opened last year and is seen by opponents as a symbol of authoritarian extravagance.




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