Turkey : Violent Clashes Between Police And PKK Supporters. (Raw)

Sound Kicks In around 50sec mark : DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (AFP) — Kurds angry at alleged abuses against jailed rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan clashed with police for a second day running Sunday despite a Turkish government pledge he had not been mistreated.

In Siirt, in the east of the country, and in south-western Sanliurfa, riot police moved in to break up hundreds of demonstrators with two of the Siirt protesters injured and 15 arrests made there.

On Saturday, media reports said that police used water cannon to disperse Kurds in the Istanbul district of Umraniye, while in nearby Kucukcekmece petrol bombs damaged a shopping centre.

Weekend protests were also quashed in the cities of Mersin, in the south, Sanliurfa -- where vehicles were set on fire -- and Van and Varto in the east, with one injury and around 30 arrests reported across the region.

"When I heard these allegations, I conducted an immediate investigation," Turkey's Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin told reporters on Sunday. "There has not been any mistreatment," he stated.

Ocalan's lawyers had reported that he had been assaulted by a guard and threatened with death in his island prison of Imrali, in the northwest, where he has been its sole inmate since 1999.

Similar reports in the past have stirred anger among Kurds who look on Ocalan, head of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), as a hero.

Arrested in Kenya in February 1999, Ocalan was condemned to death by a Turkish court but the sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 2002 after Turkey abolished the death penalty.

The PKK is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by the European Union and the United States as well as by Turkey. Some 44,000 people have died since its conflict with the Turkish state began in 1984.

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