Turkey mine accident: Police fire tear gas at protesters
Zee Media Bureau
Istanbul: Tear gas and water cannon were fired by Turkish police on Tuesday after thousand of protesters protesting against the death of at least 282 miners.
The demonstrators shouted anti-government slogans after mine operators held a press conference to deny negligence over the disaster.
The explosion took place when 787 miners were underground. While 18 continue to be missing, 122 people were reportedly injured.
Turkey`s four biggest unions called a one-day strike, saying workers` lives were being jeopardised to cut costs, and demanding that those responsible for the collapse of the coal mine in the western town of Soma in Manisa province 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.
"We call on the working class and friends of labourers to stand up for our brothers in Soma."
Anger at the disaster has swept across Turkey, where mining accidents are a frequent occurrence.
President Abdullah Gul said on a visit to the mine Turkey faced "a great disaster", and vowed action to prevent further accidents in Turkey, where mine explosions and cave-ins are common.
"Whatever necessary will be done. We need to review all the regulations, like all developed countries do, so that these accidents do not happen again."Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rejected claims of government culpability, saying that "such accidents happen".
He compared the collapse to other mining disasters elsewhere, saying that "204 people died in the UK in 1862 and 361 people in 1864", in an apparent attempt to downplay the severity.
Erdogan was forced to take refuge in a shop after a furious reaction from relatives of the victims and the missing, some of whom began kicking his vehicle.
Photographs of his advisor kicking a protester in Soma sparked outrage on social media.
(With AFP Inputs)
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