Istanbul police fire tear gas, water cannon at protest over killing of top Kurdish lawyer

Some 2,000 people gathered in central Istanbul in Turkey on Saturday, to protest the killing of a prominent Kurdish lawyer. Police attempted to disperse the crowd in Taksim Square with tear gas and water cannon.

People took to the streets in Istanbul following the murder of Tahir Elci. The prominent campaigner for Kurdish rights was shot dead in southeast Turkey earlier in the day.

Police used water cannon and tear gas, ordering protesters to disperse, RT's William Whiteman reported from the scene. He himself and an RT cameraman were also teargased during the clashes, the reporter added.

READ MORE: Prominent Kurdish lawyer shot dead in southeast Turkey

Protesters grew more and more angry with the police who were "being incredibly heavy-handed," Whiteman reported, adding that people were chanting slogans accusing President Erdogan of being a "thief" and a "killer." Helicopters have been heard flying low over the area, and the "violent" protests are continuing into the night.

The president of the bar association, who had been criticized for challenging Turkey's official stance of calling the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) a terrorist organization, died of gunshots to the head after he was targeted while making a media statement in Diyarbakir province.

Massive protests and skirmishes with police have taken place in Turkey over the past couple of days. On Friday, several thousand people rallied in Istanbul and Ankara. People gathered in support of two prominent journalists accused of treason over publishing photos of weapons allegedly brought to Syria by Turkish intelligence. Police in the Turkish capital used pepper spray on the protesters.