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Sunday, October 11, 1998 Published at 18:20 GMT 19:20 UK

World: Europe

One killed in Turkish Islamists demo

Demonstrations took place in more than 20 Turkish towns and cities

One person has been shot dead and hundreds of others arrested during demonstrations in Turkey to protest against a ban on Islamic headscarves in the country's universities.

The shooting occurred in the eastern town of Elazig when a group of protestors tried to break away from a demonstration.

Reports say an argument developed and troops opened fire, killing a 25-year-old man and wounding two others.

Mass rallies

Tens of thousands of Turkish Islamists took part in the nationwide protests on Sunday.

In some places, protestors blocked traffic. In the capital Ankara, men and women wearing headscarves joined hands in a human chain that stretched for 3km (2 miles) along a busy road.

Despite the killing and some other reports of violence, most of the protests passed off peacefully.

The demonstrations were in response to a decision by the rectors of 50 universities to bar female students from wearing Islamic headscarves on university premises.

The ban provoked large demonstrations earlier this year, prompting Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz to call for restraint in enforcing the dress codes.

'Violation of freedom'

The BBC's Chris Morris: "The Virtue Party are making big political capital from the headscarf issue"
Islamic Virtue Party member, Mehmet Elkatmis, told a rally in Ankara: "The ban represents a violation of the constitution which guarantees basic freedoms."

The restriction is one of a number imposed by the state and backed by the army which wants to limit the influence of Islam in politics and public life.

Other anti-Islamic measures include the closure of hundreds of state-run religious schools.

The army played a vital role in overthrowing an Islamist-led government last year.

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