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Turkish police fire water, gas at protesters in mining disaster town

Published time: May 16, 2014 15:01
Edited time: May 17, 2014 17:21
Turkish riot police use tear gas against protesters in Ankara on May 14, 2014.(AFP Photo / Adem Altan )

Turkish riot police use tear gas against protesters in Ankara on May 14, 2014.(AFP Photo / Adem Altan )

Police have fired water cannons and used tear gas to disperse several thousand demonstrators in the Turkish town of Soma, which became the scene of the country’s worst mining disaster earlier this week.

People scattered into side streets as the police were dispatched onto one of Soma's main commercial thoroughfares, where the offices of the local government and labor union are situated, an eyewitness told Reuters.

The demonstrators in Soma rallied against the Turkish authorities as they carried banners, which read: “Government should be accountable to the people.”

According to Evrensel.net, a journalist, who was covering the rally, received injuries as a result of the police attack.

The police also used plastic bullets, and arrests were made among Soma's rally participants.

The protesters told the website that they wanted to gather to honor those who died in the mine with a minute of silence.

However, the police forbade the action, saying that force would be used if people remained on the street.

292 miners lost the lives in Soma on Tuesday, with the reasons for the disaster currently under investigation by the country’s authorities.

The tragedy led to riots all across Turkey, with protesters blaming the owners, who took charge of the mine after privatization, of neglecting the lives of their employees to reduce costs.

There were protests in Soma on Thursday and Wednesday, with police using force to disperse them on both occasions.

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