Police crack down on Ankara demo after schoolgirl dorm fire: AFP


Ankara (AFP)

Turkish police tear gassed protesters who tried to rally in Ankara Wednesday after 12 people, mostly schoolgirls, were killed in a fire at a dormitory in southern Turkey, an AFP photographer said.

The blaze, which officials said was likely caused by an electrical fault, tore through the wooden interior of a dormitory in the southern region of Adana on Tuesday evening.

Riot police stopped around 150 protesters from different organisations including left-wing groups and women's rights activists from demonstrating outside the education ministry in Ankara over allegations that negligence led to the blaze.

Police later detained an unknown number of demonstrators as they tried to run away, the photographer said.

They called for dormitories run by religious sects to be shut down after it emerged the facility belonged to an influential Sunni Muslim group, the photographer added.

Last month, the Ankara region banned all public gatherings and demonstrations until the end of November after receiving information about potential terror attacks.

Some officials suggested the victims were killed on the top floors after they were unable to open a fire door to flee the flames.

But Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak rejected this, saying that according to initial findings the door had been unlocked.

In Adana, police authorities on Wednesday detained eight people, including the manager of the dormitory in the Aladag district, as part of the investigation into accusations of "causing death by negligence".