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Turkey: Death of boy triggers fresh unrest

Water cannon and tear gas have been used by police in clashes with protesters in Turkey following the death of a 15-year-old boy injured during anti-government demonstrations.

The latest unrest across the country ramps up the pressure on embattled Prime Minister Recey Tayyip Erdogan, who is already embroiled in a corruption scandal ahead of key elections.

Berkin Elvan was 14 years old when he was hit in the head by a police tear gas canister during a street protest as he went to buy bread for his family in June last year.

He fell into coma and became a rallying point for government opponents, who held regular vigils at the hospital where he was in intensive care until his death on Tuesday.

Many people hold Mr Erdogan and his ruling AK Party accountable for his death.

Crowds in Istanbul chanted “murderer Erdogan” and “the murderer state will be brought to account”.

Residents in some districts banged pots and pans with spoons from the windows of their apartment blocks in a show of protest.

Elsewhere in the city, police moved to disperse thousands of protesters using water cannon and tear gas.

Trouble also flared in Ankara, where protesters shouted: “Government of Erdogan, government of corruption, resign, resign.”

In the Mediterranean city of Mersin, two women were injured after being hit by a water cannon vehicle during clashes, which also left four police officers hurt.

In the Black Sea city of Samsun, 20 arrests were made by police, while in the southern city of Adana, protesters threw stones and aimed fireworks at security forces.

Demonstrations in other parts of the country made it the most extensive protests Turkey has seen since last summer’s unrest.

Berkin was the sixth person to die in violence during nationwide protests in late May and June over Mr Erdogan’s plans to demolish an Istanbul park.

The demonstrations turned into one of the largest shows of public defiance of his 11-year rule.

The renewed trouble comes as Mr Erdogan, who has been in power since 2003, faces mounting pressure, after audio recordings were leaked online in which he and his son allegedly discuss how to hide vast sums of money.

A series of other leaks on YouTube allegedly show Mr Erdogan meddling in trade deals and court cases.

It has led Mr Erdogan to warn his government could ban social media networks, which were also used to organise last year’s protests.

Access to websites have been blocked in recent years in Turkey.

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