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Turkish police fire water cannon on Istanbul protesters

Turkish police fire water cannon on Istanbul protesters
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Turkish police fired water cannon to push back thousands of demonstrators close to Istanbul’s central Taksim square on Wednesday during a protest triggered by the death of a teenager wounded in street clashes last summer.

The protesters in the Osmanbey district were among tens of thousands of mourners who marched through the city for the funeral of the 15-year-old boy, Berkin Elvan, who died on Tuesday after spending nine months in a coma.

“Lots of children had been killed so far, and Berkin was the last of them. We do not want anyone to be killed. No-one here wants it. But they try to kill people, they try to block their democratic protest right. No-one came here to clash with the police.”

Berkin’s death has sparked renewed unrest across Turkey ahead of elections later this month.

Prime Minister Erdogan criticised those taking to the streets, saying it was “undemocratic.”

There has been growing discontent with the government over corruption scandals and plans to tighten internet controls which are seen as authoritarian.

Several police officers were questioned about Berkin’s head injury but no-one was ever charged.

His death brings the number of fatalities from last summer’s protests to at least eight.