Renewed Clashes in Turkey after Teenage Protest Victim's Funeral
Two people died on Wednesday during protests across Turkey after the funeral of a boy wounded during anti-government clashes last year.
One demonstrator has died in clashes in Istanbul. The second victim is a police officer who is said to have had a heart attack while dealing with the unrest, as the BBC reports.
People in thirty-two cities and towns throughout Turkey took part in Tuesday and Wednesday's renewed unrest, which began after the death of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan, the teenager who was injured in the head while going to buy bread at the time of July's clashes between anti-government protesters and police in Istanbul.
As a result, the boy spent 269 days in a coma before his death was announced on Tuesday.
Elvan has turned into a symbol of resistance against authoritarianism and excessive police force that was used during last year's protests. According to the Hurriet Daily, just a single hashtag, #BerkinElvanÖlümsüzdür (#BerkinElvanIsImmortal), was tweeted 11.9 million times on March 11 and 12 after the boy's death.
On Wednesday evening, clashes broke in key cities in Western Turkey such as Istanbul, Izmir and the capital, Ankara.
In Turkey's biggest city, Istanbul, where Elvan's funeral took place on Wednesday, mourners shouted "Berkin's murderers are the AKP police", referring to Prime Minister Erdogan and his ruling party.
In Ankara, three people were injured and 71 arrested, according to reports by Turkish newspaper Hurriyet Daily.
Police used tear gas and other measures to stop demonstrations, which had dispersed in the early hours of Thursday.
Commenting on the mounting discontent of his government, Erdogan has repeated last week's claims that he would quit politics if his party loses the local elections scheduled for March 30.
His popularity has significantly dwindled over the past few months due to large-scale political scandals.