Kurds Clash With Police In Turkey

AP, April 4, 2007

Police and soldiers fired warning shots into the air and used tear gas and truncheons Wednesday to disperse hundreds of stone-throwing Kurdish protesters in southeastern Turkey.

The protesters wanted to travel to the village of Kurdish rebel chief Abdullah Ocalan to mark his 58th birthday, reports said.

The clashes erupted when police and soldiers blocked a highway and stopped a convoy of around 4,000 Kurds near the town of Halfeti in Sanliurfa province. Angry Kurds, shouting slogans in support of Ocalan, began throwing stones at the soldiers and police, prompting them to open fire into the air, the private Dogan news agency said.

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Ocalan is serving a life sentence on a prison island off Istanbul for leading a separatist war for autonomy in Turkey’s southeast.

The conflict has claimed the lives of more than 37,000 people since 1984.

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