Turkish police fire tear gas on Kurdish festivities

March 18, 2012 15:30


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ANKARA - Turkish police used water cannon, tear gas and baton charges to break up Kurdish demonstrations across the country on Sunday, a sign of rising tension ahead of the Kurdish New Year next week.

Turkey's pro-Kurdish party and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) armed militants have both called for large demonstrations for Newroz, the Kurdish New Year that begins on March 21, sensing the government, which has strongly backed Arab uprisings, may be vulnerable to pressure from street protests.

Both the legal Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and the PKK are demanding a level of autonomy for the mainly Kurdish southeast of the country.

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