Hundreds rally at Turkey trial over protester's death
AFP, Monday 2 Dec 2013


Hundreds of flag-waving Turks massed outside an Ankara court Monday for a new hearing in the trial of a riot policeman accused of killing a demonstrator during the nationwide protests that rocked the country this year.

The police officer identified only as Ahmet S. is accused of shooting 26-year-old Ethem Sarisuluk during demonstrations in Ankara in June.

The crowd of about 700 shouted anti-government slogans outside the Turkish capital's main courthouse such as "Ethem was shot dead by AKP police," referring to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The defendant, who appeared in the dock at the start of his trial in September wearing a wig and a fake moustache so as not to be identified, attended Monday's session via video-conference, also disguised.

In a video of the June 1 shooting widely broadcast on the Internet, the victim was seen suddenly collapsing on the street in front of the helmeted police officer, who then fled the scene.

The officer faces a charge of "exceeding legitimate self-defence" and risks a prison term of up to five years.

The June unrest was sparked by the heavy-handed police crackdown on a local battle to save an Istanbul park which grew into nationwide demonstrations against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's conservative religious policies and his increasingly authoritarian rule, claim critics.

Six people were killed and more than more than 8,000 injured.

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