10 000s to mourn Turkey protest teen's death

2014-03-12 13:59
A protestor holds a placard displaying a portrait of Berkin Elvan after the announcement of the death of the teenager. (Adem Altan, AFP)

A protestor holds a placard displaying a portrait of Berkin Elvan after the announcement of the death of the teenager. (Adem Altan, AFP)

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Istanbul - Tens of thousands of people were expected to turn out on Wednesday for the funeral of a teenage boy whose death from injuries suffered during last year's anti-government protests sparked violent countrywide demonstrations.

Police fired tear gas and water cannon at stone-hurling protesters outside the Istanbul hospital where 15-year-old Berkin Elvan died on Tuesday after 269 days in a coma.

Elvan was hit on the head by a tear gas canister while walking to buy bread during the demonstrations against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that gripped Turkey in June last year.

A march is planned after the boy's funeral in Istanbul, which is likely to add to pressure on Erdogan, whose government has been rocked by a sprawling corruption scandal ahead of elections that could decide his fate.

Erdogan has vowed to step down if his ruling party, in power since 2002, loses key local elections on 30 March.

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