24 May 2014

Erdogan defends police following protestor deaths

10:44 pm on 24 May 2014

The Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has defended the tactics of riot police, following the deaths of two people in clashes with protesters.

One bystander died after being shot in the head and a second person died from injuries sustained when a grenade exploded.

Ten thousand mourners have marched through Istanbul as fresh running battles erupt in the city's streets.

Witnesses say riot police have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds as rioters blocked roads and burned tyres in the second day of demonstrations.

Tensions are high with the approach of the first anniversary of deadly nationwide anti-government protests and in the wake of a mine disaster that claimed more than 300 lives last week.