Turkish police clashed with thousands of anti-government protesters angered by the deaths of at least 283 workers in the country’s worst mining disaster, piling pressure on Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In the western city of Izmir, about 100 kilometres (60 miles) from Soma, which was hit hard by Tuesday’s mine explosion, police fired tear gas and water cannon at around 20,000 protesters on Thursday.
Turkey’s four biggest unions held a one-day strike, saying workers’ lives were being jeopardised to cut costs, and demanding those responsible for the collapse of the coal mine be brought to account.
“Hundreds of our workers have been left to die from the very beginning by being forced to work in cruel production processes to achieve maximum profits,” they said in a joint statement, calling on people to wear black.
Anger at the disaster has swept across Turkey, where mine explosions and cave-ins are a frequent occurrence.
In Izmir, the 61-year-old head of one of the main unions Kani Beko was hospitalised after violent clashes with riot police.
In Ankara, police fired tear gas and water cannon on around 200 protesters accusing the government and mining industry of negligence.