Turkey: Thousands gather for Istanbul funeral of teenage protest victim

Published March 12th, 2014 - 03:13 GMT

Thousands of people have gathered in Istanbul for the funeral of a Turkish teenager who died nine months after slipping into a coma. The injuries were sustained after he was hit by a police tear-gas canister during anti-government protests, the Associated Press reported.

Police fired tear gas and a water cannon at stone-hurling protesters outside the Istanbul hospital where 15-year-old Berkin Elvan diedon Tuesday, according to Agence France-Presse.

The march that is planned to take place after the boy’s funeral in Istanbul is likely to add to pressure on Erdogan, whose government has been rocked by a corruption scandal ahead of elections .

Erdogan has vowed to step down if his ruling party, in power since 2002, loses key local elections on March 30.

On Wednesday, thousands converged in front of a house of worship calling for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to resign after the news that the young boy had died.

According to the Associated Press, Berkin was on his way to buy bread during anti-government protests when he was struck in the head by a gas canister. No police officer has been charged in relation to the incident, despite several being questioned.

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

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