Clashes in Turkey as protesters mourn teen

Police in Istanbul have clashed with demonstrators over a teenage boy who died from injuries suffered in last year's anti-government protests.

Tear gas and water cannon have been fired at protesters in Ankara and Istanbul as tens of thousands took to the streets to mourn a teenage boy who died from injuries suffered in last year's anti-government protests.

In the Turkish capital, police clashed with demonstrators as they tried to stop traffic, making a number of arrests and leaving several injured.

In Istanbul, large crowds shouting anti-government slogans lit a huge fire as they made their way to a cemetery for the burial of 15-year-old Berkin Elvan.

Scuffles broke out when police tried to prevent protesters from gathering on the city's Taksim Square, the epicentre of last June's mass protests.

In the western city of Izmir, one woman was left with a broken leg and several others were hospitalised after police tried to stop crowds marching towards local government buildings, news channel NTV reported.

In Tunceli, in the east, the Dogan news agency reported that a 30-year-old policeman had died of a heart attack after officers had confronted protesters.

Elvan, who died in an Istanbul hospital on Tuesday after 269 days in a coma, was hit on the head by a tear gas canister while going to buy bread during the protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that gripped Turkey in June.

"Berkin's murderers are the AKP police," protesters shouted in Istanbul, referring to Erdogan's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

"The rage of mothers will suffocate the killers," screamed others as they marched through the streets after Elvan's funeral.

The renewed unrest, following clashes in at least 32 cities on Tuesday, adds to mounting pressure on Erdogan, whose government has been rocked by a corruption scandal ahead of elections that could decide his fate.

Elvan's story became a symbol for many Turks of the heavy-handed police tactics against mass anti-government demonstrators in June, a major challenge to Erdogan's 11-year-rule.

On the election trail on Wednesday, Erdogan downplayed the fresh wave of protests.

"A government can only be changed at ballot box," he said at a rally in the southeastern Mardin province.

The prime minister has vowed to step down if the AKP, in power since 2002, loses local elections on March 30 that are seen as a key test of his popularity after last year's unrest, and a continuing graft probe that has ensnared key AKP allies.

"How many young people have to die for Erdogan to resign? My only wish is for this fascism to end without spilling more blood," said retired worker Atilla Izmirlioglu.

Source AAP

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