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Turkish police, protesters clash in Hatay on earthquake anniversary

Earthquake survivors hold a vigil for the one-year anniversary of the devastating earthquakes that hit southeastern Turkey, protesting what they called government negligence in the aftermath.

Turkish police have clashed with protesters, who gathered to mark the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake that hit southeastern Turkey, after they called on the government to resign over "negligence" in the aftermath.

Early on Tuesday, thousands of people gathered in the southeastern Turkish province of Hatay at 04:17 AM, the same hour the quake hit the country a year ago, lighting candles and chanting “We won’t forgive, we won’t forget.”

That came as angry residents say many died not due to the buildings collapsing, but due to waiting for days in the cold weather for help to arrive from officials.

The scuffles took place when the police tried to block a road.

Hatay region is the worst hit region from a total of 11 affected by last year’s earthquake.

More than ten thousand people took part in a vigil held in the city center of Hatay on Monday that also saw people protesting against the government for what they say is its neglect of the city in the aftermath.

During the vigil, people called for the resignation of the government as well as the local chief of police and the mayor of Hatay, who were attending the vigil.

Some chanted the slogan “Can anybody hear my voice?” that was shouted by people under the rubble.

After the vigil, people tossed flowers into the Asi River, which runs through the city.

“Nobody was with these people that day. These people’s pain is that they could not be rescued. These people’s pain is that they could not have their voices heard,” Merve Gursel, who lost her aunt, her aunt’s husband, and her cousins in the earthquake, said.

The powerful 7.8-magnitude tremor leveled towns and city swathes in southeastern Turkey and neighboring Syria, killing more than 53,500 people in Turkey, some 5,900 in Syria, and leaving millions homeless.

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