Britain calls for vigilance amid Turkish unrest

March 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM
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LONDON, March 11 (UPI) -- The British government called for vigilance Tuesday for any of its citizens in Turkey given the likelihood nationwide protests will turn violent.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a travel alert warning of anti-government demonstrations.

"Police have previously used water cannon and tear gas in response to protests," the warning read.

The BBC reported police in Ankara fired tear gas on the estimated 2,000 protesters who took to the streets Tuesday after the death of a 15-year-old boy who was struck in the head by a tear gas canister last year

The child, Berkin Elvan, was in a coma for more than 250 days. He was injured on his way to a store during Turkish protests over plans to redevelop the historic Gezi Park.

Small demonstrations against plans to tear down the park in Istanbul escalated last year into nationwide protests, which took on a political tone as they dragged on through June.

The British travel warning said March demonstrations have taken place in Ankara in a "district around the prime minister's office."

At least three protesters died during last year's unrest and several thousand were injured.

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