ANKARA, May 15 (RIA Novosti) – Police are using tear gas and water cannons against anti-government protesters that took to the streets in Turkey following a mining accident that claimed the lives of at least 282 people.
Labor unions are staging mass demonstrations that have turned into clashes between the protesters and police throughout Istanbul. Police are trying to persuade the activists to respect the national mourning and clear the streets.
According to the CNN Turk TV channel, up to 20,000 people are taking part in the protests.
About 15,000 people took to the streets of Tunceli in an attempt to make their way to the city hall. Shops in the city center have been closed. Several injuries have already been reported.
Clashes continue in the cities of Izmir, Şanlıurfa and Samsun. Demonstrators are blaming the current authorities for the mining tragedy.
The accident at the Soma coal mine in western Turkey took place Tuesday. According to preliminary data, the explosion, which occurred about two kilometers (1.2 miles) below the surface Tuesday, was triggered by an electrical fault. A total of 787 people were inside the coal mine at the time of Tuesday’s explosion.
Mine operator Soma Komur announced that about 450 miners had already been rescued, with up to 50 people possibly remaining trapped underground.