Kurdish rioters face off with police

The Turkish army moved combat vehicles to the outskirts of the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakir Wednesday in an effort to stave off some of the worst rioting in Turkey in a decade.

A long convoy of armored personnel carriers rumbled toward a major military base on the outskirts of the city as authorities called in police reinforcements from nearby cities, and municipality workers cleaned the wreckage of burned cars and broken glass littering the streets from the previous night.

In the center of the city, about 200 Kurdish protesters hurled stones at riot police and smashed the windows of local businesses, private CNN-Turk television reported.

Some 40 people were injured in rioting Tuesday, including a soldier and seven police officers. Thousands of people rampaged through the streets of Diyarbakir following the funerals of four of 14 pro-autonomy Kurdish guerrillas killed in recent fighting with Turkish soldiers.

During Tuesday's clashes, rioters chanting pro-guerrilla slogans hurled firebombs at armored police vehicles, smashed the windows of several police stations, banks, post offices and health clinics and stabbed two police officers.

Four people with gunshot wounds were rushed to hospitals, hospital officials said. The governor's office said police detained 23 protesters.

The guerrillas whose funerals started the rioting were among those killed by soldiers in the province of Mus in a two-day clash that ended Saturday. They belonged to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has been fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984.

Tensions have been running high in the southeast, where autonomy-seeking Kurdish guerrillas have escalated attacks recently, reports the AP.


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