Anti-government protester dies in Turkey

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Associated Press

Posted on September 10, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 10 at 2:35 PM

ISTANBUL (AP) — Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police in southern Turkey on Tuesday, hours after a funeral was held for a 22-year-old protester who died in disputed circumstances.

Protesters also were gathering in other Turkish cities, including Ankara and Istanbul, where police launched tear gas at demonstrators who were seen throwing projectiles.

Turkish news reports, citing witnesses, said Ahmet Atakan died Tuesday after being struck by a police tear gas canister while taking part in a protest in the southern city of Antakya late Monday. However, in a statement Tuesday police denied any responsibility, saying that Atakan fell and that there was no police intervention.

Atakan's death has provoked renewed calls for protests that had cooled since thousands clashed with police in many cities in June. Atakan is the sixth anti-government protester killed in Turkey in recent months.

In June, a police crackdown on a sit-in to protect an Istanbul park from development ignited the nationwide protests that turned into an expression of discontent with what opponents say is Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian style.

Many in Turkey had expected renewed protests as Turkish university students now return to campuses.

Atakan was at protest organized to show solidarity with students opposed to the construction of a road through a university in Ankara.

Following a funeral for him Tuesday afternoon, a group of protesters launched a firecracker at security forces, which prompted retaliation with tear gas and water cannons.

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