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Turkish police attack wounded after Suruç explosion

 
21 July
09:13 2015

URFA (DİHA) - Zehra Yanardağ, the director of the Amara Culture Center where a bombing killed at least 30 yesterday, described the police attack on the group trying to rush the wounded to hospital.

Youth activists arrived in the town of Suruç yesterday, preparing for the culmination of their campaign: "we defended Kobanê together; we'll defend it together." The group hoped to cross the border into the city of Kobanê to help rebuild the besieged city. The youth, part of the Federation of Socialist Youth Associations, were in the midst of giving a press conference at the Amara Culture Center to announce their plans when a bomb went off, killing 30.

31 were killed in the explosion and the rest more died in hospital, according to the health assembly of the activist organization Democratic Society Congress. Many suspect that analysis of the bodies will reveal the body of a suicide bomber. Around 100 people have been wounded in the attack; 35 are in serious condition. The town of Suruç remained tense in the wake of the explosion, with hundreds at the site of the massacre chanting, "murderer AKP."

Zehra Yanardağ, the director of the Amara Culture Center, woke up early that day to open the culture center. She was told that 300 youth would be arriving at 5 a.m. from different parts of Turkey, after a long bus ride.

"Everyone was really excited, because that evening they would be celebrating the Kobanê revolution in the Newroz field [of Kobanê]," said Yanardağ. "They had bags of toys with them." After breakfast at the culture center, the youth held a press conference to announce their plans, which included distributing toys, building a library and planting trees in Kobanê. The youth were chanting slogans when the bomb hit.

"The last slogan they chanted was, 'long live the peoples' fraternity, long live the Kobanê resistance,'" recalled Yanardağ. Zehra and the city's co-mayors were inside the culture center, carrying the bags of toys out, when they heard a loud sound. They were unsure what it was. "A woman came in with her hair burned. Right after that there was another woman with her mouth foaming," she said. She and the others ran outside and called ambulances, but there were not enough.

"The police came before the ambulances," said she. "Tanks closed off the roads, and they threw tear gas at the protesting crowd. We couldn't breathe. Many of the wounded died that way." The group started waving down cars at the side of the road to enlist people to take the wounded to the hospital.

"One of the cars we stopped for some reason refused to open its doors. It was a civilian car. When people really insisted, a gun emerged from the car and they opened fire," said she. "We found out that those were police."

She said that everyone in Suruç was angry about the attack and about the fact that police had attacked the crowd, rather than helping them. "Now, in this culture center, there's been an event that will go down in Turkey's history of shame," said she.

(cm/nt)



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