News ID: 138124
Published: 1037 GMT March 11, 2016

Slain teenager's anniversary sparks clashes in Istanbul

Slain teenager's anniversary sparks clashes in Istanbul

Police in Turkey fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration held Friday in remembrance of a teenager whose death two years ago gave rise to anti-government protests across the country.

Clashes were reported from the city of Istanbul where angry protesters throw rocks and petrol bombs at security forces.

The demonstration came on the second death anniversary of Berkin Elvan, who died at an Istanbul hospital in 2014 at the age of 15. The teenager is honored by the Turks as the symbol of heavy-handed tactics used by police to reign in massive demonstrations at the time against the then prime minister and current president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Friday protest was held in Okmeydani, the Istanbul district where Elvan came from. Hundreds of people also gathered with Elvan's family at the cemetery where he was buried to demand the truth behind his death.

Elvan was hospitalized after being hit by a tear gas canister fired by police during a protest against Erdogan in June 2013. His death, which came after 269 days in a coma, prompted hundreds of thousands to take to the streets in various cities to protest against Erdogan.

The teenager’s death anniversary comes amid a tense political situation in Turkey as the government has intensified its crackdown on the opposition. Authorities last Friday stormed the office of Zaman newspaper to enforce a court ruling and place the daily and its sister outlets under the control of trustees. International rights groups and governments have censured the move, saying it was a sign of Turkey’s lack of tolerance for freedom of speech.

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