- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 2, 2006

KIZILTEPE, Turkey (AP) — Police clashed with pro-Kurdish protesters in the heavily Kurdish southeast yesterday, leaving one demonstrator dead in the sixth consecutive day of anti-government rioting.

The confrontations between protesters and police also spread to Istanbul, which has a large Kurdish population. Police fired tear gas to break up a group of about 200 demonstrators trying to enter a park. Demonstrators elsewhere in the city set fire to a truck before being dispersed by police.

In the southeastern town of Kiziltepe, home to much of the violence, police officers who said they had not slept for days stood nervously on nearly every street corner.

Outside the town’s main hospital, an officer, his face covered with a black ski mask, brandished a grenade launcher and an M-16 rifle, apparently to dissuade the families of those injured in yesterday’s demonstration from causing more trouble.

Hospital officials said that a 20-year-old man was killed, but would not say how, and that five persons were injured. Local Kurdish officials said the man killed was hit by gunfire.

Nine persons have been killed in a week of rioting set off by funerals for 14 pro-autonomy Kurdish guerrillas killed by Turkish troops. Thousands of protesters have rampaged since, attacking police, banks and government offices.

Police headquarters in Diyarbakir, the largest city in the southeast, said 565 persons had been detained in rioting so far.

Meanwhile, a militant Kurdish group warned tourists yesterday to stay away, saying it would target Turkey’s tourism sector. The Kurdistan Freedom Falcons had claimed a 2005 attack on tourists in the Aegean resort of Cesme that injured 21 persons, and a Friday bombing in Istanbul that killed one.

The separatist conflict waged by Kurdish guerrillas has left 37,000 people dead in the southeast region since 1984.

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