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Istanbul clashes over teen left in coma since June

Published: Updated:

Police and hundreds of protesters clashed Monday in Istanbul in the latest unrest over a 14-year-old left in a coma during anti-government demonstrations in June.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to attempt to disperse a crowd marching on Istanbul's main court buildings shouting “We want justice for Berkin Elvan”.

The demonstrators, mostly masked members of far-left groups, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails and erected barricades.

While the clashes had ended by later afternoon, both police and protesters remained in place as evening fell.

Elvan was hit by a tear gas capsule fired by police, according to rights groups, having left his parents' house to buy a loaf of bread as violent demonstrations swept the city.

Some protesters were injured on Monday in the street battles, mostly by exposure to tear gas, and one protester suffered burns after a Molotov cocktail exploded nearby, an AFP photographer witnessed. Many were arrested.

Monday's events were just the latest in pockets of unrest across Turkey, the aftershock of demonstrations in June against the Islamic-rooted government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish riot police on Friday confronted hundreds of university students in Ankara throwing stones and erecting barricades in protest against a project to build a road across part of their campus.

And on Saturday in Taksim square, one of the focal points for protests in Istanbul, students took to the streets in solidarity with their peers in the capital, facing off with police.

June's protests were triggered by the proposed redevelopment of Gezi Park in Istanbul, which escalated into unrest against what is seen as Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian rule.

Five people were killed and 8,000 injured during the three weeks of demonstrations, according to the Turkish doctors' union, presenting Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) with its biggest challenge since it came to power in 2002.