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Turkey's Kurdish clashes continue

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Turkey's Kurdish clashes continue

Demonstrators marking the 10th anniversary of the arrest of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan have clashed with Turkish police for a second day.

Police used water cannon and tear gas to break up thousands of stone-throwing demonstrators across south-east Turkey.

A number of demonstrators and police were injured and some 50 arrests made.

Protesters were angry that Mr Ocalan continues to be held as the only inmate on a prison island where he is serving a life sentence for treason.

Youths throw rocks at an armoured police vehicle in Istanbul, Turkey, 15 February 2009
Youths threw rocks and bricks at armoured police vehicles in Istanbul
In Diyarbakir, the predominantly Kurdish region's largest city, some 1,500 demonstrators confronted heavily armed riot police supported by helicopters.

Fighting also broke out in Istanbul between masked youths and riot police, the Associated Press reported.

Some of the crowds - supporters of Mr Ocalan's movement, the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) - pelted military vehicles with bricks and rocks while police beat several protesters with truncheons.

The PKK has fought for an independent Kurdish state within Turkey since 1984.

It is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the EU and the United States.

Mr Ocalan was sentenced to death for treason, but this was later commuted to life imprisonment.

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