Turkey police crackdown, use tear gas against protestors mourning 15-year-old's death

Published March 11th, 2014 - 08:31 GMT

The death of the 15-year-old Turkish boy Tuesday who was previously wounded in Istanbul's June 2013 protests has spurred renewed protests in Turkey's largest city, according to the BBC Tuesday.

Berkin Elvan was wounded by a tear-gas canister fired by police in the June 2013 protests on his way to buy bread. He had been in a coma, a whopping 269 days, since the incident. On Tuesday, Elvan's family announced via Twitter that their son had passed: "We lost our son. May he rest in peace."

Following the tweet, mourners began to gather outside the hospital where the boy passed in Istanbul's Okmeydan district, and tributes to Elvin began to appear on social media. As the crowd began to grow, riot police came to the hospital and attacked one of the mourners who was in their vehicles. According to BBC Turkish correspondent Rengin Arslan, many of the people at the hospital believed the riot police had come to the sight to "make things worse" rather than "ensure the safety of the mourners." The Guardian reported that the police also fired tear gas at the protestors.

Protests in solidarity with Elvan allegedly continued into Tuesday evening and spread to other Turkish cities, including Antalya, Izmir and Ankara. Larger demonstrations commenced later Tuesday night in Istanbul and the capital as well.

Elvan's death is one of eight linked to last year's nationwide protests that erupted in June calling for government reform and the oust of Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Elvan's funeral is scheduled to take place in Istanbul Wednesday.

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