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Kurds protest over ban of political party

ANKARA: Kurds have battled Turkish police with rocks and firebombs in protest against a decision to shut down a pro-Kurdish political party on charges of ties to militants.The party’s MPs said they will boycott parliament.More than 80 people were detained over the weekend at demonstrations protesting Friday’s decision by Turkey’s highest court to disband the Democratic Society Party because of alleged links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).The party was banned a day after the PKK claimed responsibility for killing seven soldiers in an ambush in central Turkey, which outraged the country.The ban has cast uncertainty over Government efforts to grant Kurds greater rights in a bid to end a conflict with the rebels who seek autonomy.On Sunday, police in riot gear fired tear and pepper gas to disperse Kurdish protesters in Istanbul’s Beyoglu district, home to businesses and fashionable shops, the state-run Anatolia news agency reported.Police also prevented some residents, wielding knives, from trying to attack the protesters, the agency said.Three people were reported injured by stones and plastic bullets in the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir after police broke up a protest there, Anatolia said.On Saturday, a crowd pelted an armoured police bus with stones as firebombs hit two other armoured vehicles in the town of Yuksekova, close to the borders with Iraq and Iran, Dogan news agency video showed.In neighbouring Hakkari city, a mob attempted to lynch two police officers but were prevented by local Kurdish politicians, Anatolia said. Police detained about a dozen protesters, the area’s governor said.Protests took place elsewhere in the region and the cities of Ankara and Izmir, Anatolia said.The PKK has fought for Kurdish autonomy from the Turkish state since 1984.AP
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