ANKARA, Turkey -- Riot police fired water cannons and used pepper spray to disperse stone-throwing Kurdish rioters yesterday in a second day of violence that an official said left at least three people dead and 250 injured in southeastern Turkey.
Governor Efkan Ala said 2,500 to 3,000 rioters, including many children, participated in the two days of clashes in Diyarbakir after funerals for Kurdish guerrillas killed by Turkish troops last week.
The guerrillas were among 14 killed by soldiers in the province of Mus in a two-day fight that ended Saturday. They belonged to the Kurdistan Workers Party, which has been fighting for autonomy in southeastern Turkey since 1984.
Ala said three Kurds were killed and 250 people were injured, including 130 security forces, and several government offices, private businesses, and banks were damaged in the melees -- among the worst in decades.
The Turkish Army moved combat vehicles to the outskirts of the city, the largest in the Kurdish-dominated southeast, after clashes broke out Tuesday when thousands of protesters rampaged, hurling firebombs at armored police vehicles and smashing windows at a police station.
About 200 rioters took to the streets again yesterday, blocking streets with burning tires and hurling stones at riot police. They also smashed the windows of the local businesses and set a truck on fire before they were dispersed by security forces firing into the air and using a water cannon and tear gas.
Paramilitary troops stationed outside the governor's office also quickly repelled a group of stone-throwing protesters.
''Three protesters have unfortunately died," the Diyarbakir governor said. ''One of them died in a traffic accident while trying to escape."
Ala did not say how the two other rioters had died, pending autopsy reports, but he added that security forces had detained 200 people.
Turkey's regional governors are state-appointed and are in charge of local security.
Authorities were still assessing damage in the city as municipal workers cleaned the wreckage of burned cars and broken glass littering the streets from the previous night.
''The aim of the perpetrators and rioters of this incidents is to destroy the unity of our country and the environment of safety," Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu said.
''Our security forces will find and hand over the perpetrators, collaborators, provocateurs, and their affiliates to justice and they will be given the punishment they deserved," he added.
Authorities boosted security in Diyarbakir. A long convoy of armored personnel carriers rumbled toward a major military base on the outskirts of the city as authorities called in police reinforcements from nearby cities.
Further west in Adana, about 3,000 Kurdish protesters attending the funeral of another slain guerrilla also clashed with police on Tuesday, prompting the officers to detain several people.
Tensions have been running high in the southeast, where autonomy-seeking Kurdish guerrillas have escalated attacks recently.
The fight for autonomy has killed more than 37,000 people. The Kurdistan Workers Party is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States, and the European Union.
Turkey is under pressure from the European Union, which it wants to join, to grant more rights to its sizable Kurdish population that it does recognize as an official minority. But Ankara has ruled out any dialogue with the Kurdish guerrillas whom it regards as terrorists.