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Turkish police, protesters clash in Istanbul

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A masked protester holds a petrol bomb during clashes with Turkish police in Istanbul on December 20, 2015. (AFP)

Turkish police forces in Istanbul have clashed with demonstrators protesting against curfews in the country’s Kurdish-majority southeast.

On Sunday, hundreds of activists organized a protest rally in Istanbul’s Tarlabasi district, where a number of arrests were made as the demonstrators were showing solidarity with the Kurdish people.

Some of the demonstrators reportedly threw firebombs at the cops, who responded with tear gas canisters and used water cannon to disperse the protesters, according to police accounts.

Stunned tourists and the demonstrators used lemons and soft drinks to neutralize the effects of the tear gas, according to witnesses.

Meanwhile, Turkish riot police got engaged in similar clashes in the southeastern Kurdish cities of Diyarbakir, Cizre, Nusaybin, and Silopi.

The Turkish military vowed on Saturday to continue operations "until public security is established" after a soldier wounded in the region was announced dead.

Several areas across the southeast of Turkey on the border with Iraq have been under curfew since December 14 while about 10,000 troops backed by tanks are deployed there, according to local media.

Turkey has been engaged in a large-scale military campaign against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in its southern border region in the recent past. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the PKK in northern Iraq.

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