Turkish Police Detain 19 Protesting against Prison Reform
Police in Istanbul detained Saturday 19 people demonstrating against a government plan to replace crowded wards in Turkey's unruly prisons with smaller cells, Anatolia news agency reported.
Riot police took the demonstrators into custody after they ignored calls to disperse and insisted on making a press statement on the affluent Istiklal Boulevard on the city's European side, Anatolia said.
Several protestors were forcefully dragged into police vehicles after resisting the security forces with punches.
In a bid to stop frequent riots and hostage-taking incidents in its crowded jails, the Turkish government plans to open new prisons, where dormitory-style rooms housing up to 60 people will be replaced with cells for a maximum of three inmates.
The project has come under fire from human rights groups on the grounds that it will lead to further social alienation among inmates.
There are about 600 jails in Turkey, housing more than 70,000 inmates - ANKARA (AFP)
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