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Sunday, February 21, 1999 Published at 02:50 GMT


World: Europe

Violence at Ocalan protests

Kurdish anger in Tehran outside the Turkish embassy

There has been more violence as Kurds continue to protest against Turkey's capture of rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

And demonstrations are set to continue for a fourth day with thousands of Kurds expected to march through London.

The Ocalan File
On Friday, a Canadian policeman was seriously injured and 14 people arrested when protesters clashed with police in Montreal.

Kurdish demonstrators in Paris briefly occupied the Unesco headquarters, and in Switzerland activists stormed the Berne offices of the Radical Democratic Party seizing two hostages.


The BBC's Paul Royall: "Hundreds of activists have been arrested"
In Turkey, one person was reportedly shot dead and five injured when security forces opened fire on demonstrators in the southeast.

Human rights groups say more than 1,000 Kurds have been arrested in Turkey as the authorities try to end protests against the capture of Mr Ocalan, who is now being questioned on a prison island south of Istanbul.

High security

Mr Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), was seized by Turkish agents in Kenya on Tuesday after a fortnight staying in the Greek embassy in Nairobi.


Correspondent Chris Morris: Kurdish authorities do not want Ocalan's trial to drag on
He is being held on the high security prison island of Imrali, but prosecutors were prevented from reaching him on Friday after violent snowstorms made sea and air travel unsafe, the Anatolia news agency reported.

Local press reports say his trial is also expected to take place on the island from which all other inmates have been evacuated.


[ image:  ]
An unknown number of prisoners in jails across the country are reported to be on hunger strike.

About 10,000 troops are involved in military action directed against PKK bases in northern Iraq, Turkish newspapers reported on Friday.

Correspondents say Turkey wants to capitalise on its arrest of Mr Ocalan by attacking now-leaderless PKK forces and destroying guerrilla bases from where PKK operations are launched.

Baghdad, which has nominal sovereignty over northern Iraq but no presence there, has strongly condemned the Turkish incursion.

Ocalan trial concerns

There have been international calls for Mr Ocalan to receive a fair trial in Turkey, which has in the past been accused of human rights abuses.


Turkish Prime Minster Bulent Ecevit: He will not be badly treated
Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit has given a personal assurance that Mr Ocalan will be safe in Turkish custody - but warned against outside support of the PKK.

Mr Ecevit said countries which refused to try Mr Ocalan after he had left Syria were not in a position to criticise Turkey.

But human rights groups have accused Turkey of already violating the law by refusing Mr Ocalan access to a lawyer of his choosing.


[ image: Kurd leader in front of Turkish flags: Symbol of Turkey's victory]
Kurd leader in front of Turkish flags: Symbol of Turkey's victory
Meanwhile the Netherlands-based lawyer who is part of the international team representing Mr Ocalan accused Washington and Athens of having a hand in his capture. Both deny involvement.

The defence team was barred fromTurkey when its members arrived on Wednesday.

Britta Boehler told an Arabic newspaper there was solid information about intelligence co-operation between the US and Greece to get Mr Ocalan out of Europe where it would be easier for him to be snatched.

Protesters shot

Mr Ocalan's arrest sparked a wave of dramatic demonstrations around the world with protesters burning themselves and occupying embassies of countries they blamed for their leader's capture.

On Thursday, there were violent clashes between Kurdish activists and Turkish police. The town of Cizre near the Iraqi border was described as being under curfew.

And on Wednesday, Israeli security guards shot dead three protesters trying to storm the Israeli consulate in Berlin.



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