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16 May, 2014 15:01

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

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

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.

An old man is detained in #Soma. pic.twitter.com/XMzcQTh9Gr

— Occupied Taksim (@OccupiedTaksim) May 16, 2014

Photo from #Soma, right now. pic.twitter.com/dzLPb6Nhch

— Occupied Taksim (@OccupiedTaksim) May 16, 2014

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.

Police violance in #soma#turkey A women hit in the head by a plastic bullet pic.twitter.com/Ty1PsktCTZ

— Kaan Yagcioglu (@kaanyagcioglu) May 16, 2014