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Police clash with protesters in Turkey’s Diyarbakir

Protesters stand next to a fire during clashes between Turkish forces and Kurdish people in the center of Diyarbakir, as they protest against the curfew in the Sur district on March 2, 2016. (AFP photo)

Violent clashes have erupted in Turkish volatile town of Diyarbakir as people continue to demand an end to a crippling curfew imposed on the area.

Police on Wednesday used water cannon and tear gas to stop protesters marching toward the Sur district to demand an end to the lockdown of the area.

Reports said clashes were continuing in the central parts of Diyarbakir as protesters set fire to boxes and containers in the middle of the streets.

A protestor stands close to a fire, during clashes between Turkish forces and Kurdish people in the center of Diyarbakir, during a protest against a curfew in the Sur district of Diyarbakir, on March 2, 2016. ©AFP 

Diyarbakir, Turkey's biggest Kurdish majority city in the southeast, has been under a lockdown since December 2 as the government continues with its crackdown in a bid to root out suspected militants of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or the PKK, in the area.

The clashes came hours after a bomb exploded in the central Yenisehir district, located just north of Diyarbakir, with officials blaming the PKK, saying one person was killed and four others wounded in the incident.

Ankara has decided to partially lift a similar curfew in Cizre, another flashpoint town in the Kurdish-dominated southeast, but it says that the lockdown in Diyarbakir will continue as the violence has not fully subsided.

A protestor stands close to a fire, during clashes between Turkish forces and Kurdish people in the center of Diyarbakir, during a protest against a curfew in the Sur district of Diyarbakir, on March 2, 2016. ©AFP 

Residents of Cizre began returning home Wednesday only to find scenes of devastation and entire buildings in ruins. They escaped the town in mid-December when a heavy security operation began against alleged positions of the PKK.

Turkish army says it has managed to kill around 670 suspected PKK members since the crackdown began in late July. Officials from the pro-Kurdish Democratic Peoples' Party (HDP) say, however, that many of those killed were civilians.

The march in Diyarbakir came after the HDP called for demonstration in Sur to demand the end of the curfew. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the invitation, saying it is a “call for terror.”


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