Friday, September 2, 2011

Kurdish activists clash with police in Istanbul

Mounting tensions between the government and members of Turkey's Kurdish ethnic minority erupted on the streets of the country's largest city Thursday, after Kurdish activists clashed with riot police at a protest organized by the main Kurdish nationalist political party.

Scores of Kurdish youths, many of them covering their face with bandannas, hurled stones and petrol bombs as security forces fired tear gas to try to disperse the crowds in Istanbul.

Amid the chaos near the banks of the Marmara Sea, a CNN producer witnessed a man collapse, apparently overwhelmed by the clouds of noxious tear gas. Nearby, flowers littered the pavement where a women's flower stand had been overturned.

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Turkey's main Kurdish political party, organized rallies in Istanbul and other Turkish cities Thursday to mark "World Peace Day."

But the rallies come within weeks of a fresh Turkish military bombing campaign of Kurdish separatist rebels who have long operated out of camps and bases across the border in Northern Iraq. more