Kurdish protesters, Turkish police clash during festival; dozens injured

Police said Saturday they detained 130 people after Kurdish protesters chanting support for separatist guerrillas clashed with police in eastern Turkey leaving dozens injured. Kurdish men hurled rocks at riot police who protected themselves with plastic shields, television film from the Cihan news agency showed. Police later fired tear gas to disperse the crowd and beat some of the protesters, the footage showed. Mehmet Salih Kesmez, police chief of the eastern province of Van, said 38 protesters and 15 police officers were injured. Four, including a police officer, were seriously hurt and were being treated in an intensive care unit, he said. Protesters had gathered early Saturday in the city of Van, near Turkey's border with Iran, to celebrate the Nowruz festival marking the beginning of spring. Some Turkish Kurds use the festival to highlight their demand for autonomy.