23:04 GMT +320 February 2019
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    Tahir Elci, the head of Diyarbakir Bar Association, speaks to the media shortly before being killed in Diyarbakir, Turkey

    Turkish Police Fire Tear Gas Amid Protests Over Murder of Kurdish Lawyer

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    Turkish police clamped down on demonstrators who gathered Saturday in central Istanbul for a remembrance march after a brutal murder of a prominent Kurdish lawyer and rights activist.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Tahir Elci, bar association president in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakir province, was killed earlier today in a shooting that broke out when he was making a press statement.

    A video released by Turkish Dukuz 8 news service showed riot police fire tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds of lawyers, shoppers and other citizens gathered in central Istiklal Avenue in Istanbul.

    Elci was arrested by Turkish authorities in October after he said that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) was not a terrorist organization, as claimed by Ankara. PKK is a Kurdish group fighting for independence from Turkey.

    Large-scale protests engulfed Turkey in the past two days after it arrested two journalists for reporting on Turkish arms sales to Syrian militants. Ankara accused the reporters of divulging state secrets, while press freedom groups called for action against Turkey's attempts to gag media.


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