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Turkish Police attacking nationwide Soma protests in Turkey

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Turkish police have fired tear gas and water cannon at thousands of protesters in the eastern town of Soma, where some 300 miners died on Tuesday but locals say the number is much higher than the official figures.

The demonstrators in the town shouted anti-government slogans.

The protest occurred after the mine operators held a news conference to deny any negligence over the disaster.

There have been angry anti-government rallies across Turkey for the last three days over what has become the country’s worst-ever mine disaster.An explosion sent carbon monoxide gas into the mine’s tunnels while 787 miners were underground.Up to 18 are still missing. Another 363 escaped, while 122 are injured. ‘Unexplained’

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Several thousand demonstrators gathered in the centre of Soma on Friday, shouting: “People of Soma, show your solidarity with the miners.”
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They scattered into side streets as police intervened.

Earlier, representatives from Soma Holding defended their response to the disaster, telling a news conference that their priority had been to save lives.
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Relatives of the miners prayed in the cemetery in Soma on Friday
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Miners waited anxiously at the mine on Friday for news of colleagues still missing

They added that an unexplained build-up of heat in the mine appeared to have caused the collapse.

Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said that a fire was still burning inside the mine, but it was “declining”.

He said anyone negligent about safety at the mine would be punished, adding: “We won’t take any notice of their tears.”
‘Insensitive’

Relatives of the miners who died held prayers on Friday at the cemetery in Soma where they were buried.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticised for being insensitive in his reaction to the disaster, by appearing to suggest that it was a fact of life.

And pictures of Mr Erdogan appearing to slap a protester in a local supermarket have been shown in the Turkish media.

For YouTube Link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLzXj0k3y_0&feature=youtu.be
Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to push a man during his visit to Soma, as Orla Guerin reports

His aide Yusuf Yerkel made headlines on Thursday when photos emerged of him appearing to kick a protester in Soma.

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