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Kurds attack Turkish government offices

ANKARA, Turkey -- Kurdish protesters attacked government offices and a bank, while police fired shots and tear gas to scatter thousands of demonstrators yesterday in Turkey's Kurdish- dominated southeast.

Thousands of Kurds in the town of Kiziltepe tried to march to the local headquarters of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's governing party to protest the deaths of eight people in five days in the southeast. One Kurdish demonstrator was fatally shot yesterday, said Nazmi Gur of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party.

Protesters threw stones and firebombs, and set fire to a bank and the offices of the governing party, according to media reports.

Armored personnel carriers patrolled down the streets, and police fired shots into the air and sprayed tear gas to scatter the marchers.

A 27-year-old man was fatally shot in the head, Gur said. Officials at Kiziltepe State Hospital confirmed the man had died of gunshot wounds. Governor Mehmet Kiliclar confirmed one death, and said 16 people, including seven police officers, were injured in the clashes. Police detained about 30 demonstrators, he said.

One bank was set on fire while four people were still inside, the private CNN-Turk television network reported. Television footage showed three people having difficulty breathing being lowered onto the sidewalk.

Police also clashed with demonstrators in Silopi, near the border with Iraq, and in nearby Yuksekova, the state-owned Anatolia news agency reported. Several people were injured.

The recent fighting pitting Kurds against Turkish police and paramilitary officers erupted after the funerals of Kurdish militants who had been killed in clashes with the military.

The unrest in Mardin began a day after Erdogan warned parents to keep children away from the unrest, and indicated the government would remain tough. ''For those who keep their children in the streets or allow them to be used by the [rebels], their tears tomorrow will be in vain," he said.

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