Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mass Protest in Hopa

PHOTO from Radikal

An election rally for Prime Minister Erdgoan in the Black sea town of Hopa (Artvin) near the border with Georgia resulted in mass protests today. Though the town was relatively calm during Erdogan's speech, the situation intensified later as the prime minister's convoy was leaving Hopa. Protestors threw stones at the convoy, seriously injuring a bodyguard. Police used teargas to breakup the protestors and fired shots in the air, which led to the death of demonstrator Metin Lokumcu (he had a heart attack).

According to news reports, protests spread to Ankara later in the day at word of Lokumcu's death. When protestors attempted to try to leave a black wreath at the Prime Ministry, police intervened. Clashes broke out that involved more teargas, more water cannons, and more detentions (around 60).

UPDATE I (6/2) -- For an English-language account of the protests from Bianet, click here. Bianet reports 54 people were detained in Ankara, four of whom were formally arrested. Protests also broke out in Istanbul and Izmir.

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