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Man shot in Istanbul protest dies of wounds: governor

A Turkish man who was shot in the head during a police crackdown on protesters, has died of his injuries, the Istanbul governor said.

ISTANBUL: A Turkish man who was shot in the head on Thursday during a police crackdown on protesters, has died of his injuries, the Istanbul governor said.

"Unfortunately we have not been able to save Ugur Kurt," Huseyin Avni Mutlu wrote on Twitter, several hours after the 30-year-old victim was brought to hospital.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc earlier said that the man was attending a funeral ceremony when police cracked down on some 50 protesters in the Okmeydani district, the scene of sporadic clashes.

Arinc's comments also suggested that the victim was hit by a stray bullet fired by a policeman during the clashes - the latest in a string of protests fuelled by rising anger against the government.

"If one of our citizens, who has nothing to do with the events, is injured by a stray bullet fired by a policeman, I would like to see anyone who is involved in this incident immediately be brought into account," Arinc said.

He said a bullet lodged in the man's head as well as guns used by the police would be examined by prosecutors appointed to investigate the incident.

Violence erupted when police fired tear gas, water cannon and live bullets to disperse protesters who denounced the death of a teenage boy who fell into a coma during anti-government unrest last year.

They also protested last week's mine disaster in the western Turkish town of Soma.

Dogan news agency published the picture of a man lying on the ground with a pool of blood around his head. Video footage showed the man falling to the ground with an apparent head wound.

Demonstrators responded to the tear gas and water cannon by hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at police and setting fire to an armoured police vehicle.

Clashes continued through the night as angry protesters hurled petrol bombs, blocked roads and burned tyres to fend off police officers, according to an AFP photographer.

Nine people, including seven police officers were injured when an explosive thrown by a protester detonated, media reported.

Earlier Thursday around 400 demonstrators staged a sit-in outside the hospital, chanting slogans: "Murderer state has taken another life."

Another protest in Kadikoy square on the Asian side of the country's largest city dispersed without incident.

Tensions are high in Turkey with the approach of the first anniversary of deadly nationwide anti-government protests and in the wake of an unprecedented mine disaster that claimed 301 lives last week.

Eight people, including the teenage boy and at least one policeman, died as a result of the anti-government unrest last year that erupted when police cracked down heavily on a peaceful campaign to save a small Istanbul park from redevelopment.

The protests, which also left 8,000 people wounded, soon snowballed into a campaign against the perceived authoritarian tendencies of the Islamic-rooted government.

The government crackdown earned Turkey a harsh rebuke from its Western allies.

Sporadic protests have continued against controversial measures taken by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in response to a massive corruption scandal implicating key government allies, including an Internet crackdown that saw Twitter banned for two weeks.

The mine tragedy - the worst in the country's history - has caused a new wave of fury against Erdogan ahead of an expected run for the presidency in August.

Protesters clashed with police in several cities after Erdogan played down the incident by comparing it to mining disasters from 19th-century Britain and photographs of one of his aides kicking a protester emerged.

Despite the protests, the corruption scandal and Erdogan's perceived authoritarianism, the premier's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party scored a resounding victory in March 30 local elections.

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