Turkey- mining disaster town Soma under lockdown with commando deployment

Banu Şen - Turan GültekinMANİSA - Hürriyet

Turkish lawyers that came to support the miners' families chant slogans as they are escorted away by police after they were detained in Soma, May 17. AP Photo / Lefteris Pitarakis

Soma was under complete lockdown on May 18, after police and gendarmerie forces set up checkpoints on the main roads connecting to the town in the wake of protests over the mining accident that has claimed 301 lives.

Security forces deployed in the surroundings of Soma were reinforced by commando troops dispatched from garrisons in Istanbul, Ankara, İzmir and Denizli.

Only officials, rescuers, some journalists and relatives of miners are allowed to pass through the checkpoints set up 30 kilometers from the disaster-struck mine. Buses and private cars have all been halted and checked.

Protests, marches and demonstrations were banned after tension rose due to anger against the authorities following the disaster. The Manisa Governor’s Office has claimed that most of the protesters came from outside Soma and described the protests as “provocative.”

Eight lawyers who tried to access the town were detained on May 17, including Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) head Selçuk Kozağaçlı. An image showing Kozağaçlı’s arm in a bandage circulated on social media after his detention, with claims that his arm was broken as the result of a beating inflicted by the police.

May/18/2014

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