Ankara terror attack: Protesters clash with police after ambulances 'blocked' following explosions

Protesters claimed police prevented ambulances taking the wounded to hospital in the wake of the bombing

Protesters have clashed with police in Ankara after officers allegedly blocked a road being used by ambulances transporting victims of this morning’s bombing.

Bulent Tekdemir, who was at the rally, told the BBC that police used tear gas shortly after the explosions at 10am and “would not let ambulances through” in the aftermath.

Footage showed lines of riot officers appearing to block a road near the blast site, with ambulances parked in the background.

Ankara'daki patlama onrası mitinge katılanlar polise tepki gös...

Ankara'daki patlama sonrası yaralılara yardım edenleri engellemeye çalışan polisler ile mitinge katılanlar arasında olaylar çıktı http://evrn.sl/plZw0

Posted by EVRENSEL GAZETESİ - www.evrensel.net on Saturday, 10 October 2015

 

Crowds started angrily shouting at officers, throwing missiles and beating them with flag poles and sticks as others called for calm.

Some men clashing with police appeared to have survived the bombing, with blood clearly visible on their clothing.

Police, wearing helmets and sheltering behind riot shields, were pushed back against a concrete barrier and an ambulance was able to pass through with its sirens on.

The left-wing People’s Democratic Party (HDP) claimed in a Twitter post that police “attacked people trying to carry the injured away”. The allegations could not be independently verified.

The health ministry put the death toll at 86, with at least 186 people wounded, by Saturday afternoon.

Ankara-attack3.jpg
Bodies of victims are covered with flags and banners as police officers secure the area after an explosion in Ankara, Turkey, Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015.

No group immediately claimed responsibility and authorities were investigating the possibility that the twin explosions were suicide bombs.

They struck 50 metres apart as hundreds of people gathered near Ankara Central Station for a rally denouncing the violence between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants.

Footage showed a line of men and women holding hands while doing a traditional dance and singing as the explosions started, sending people screaming and running for cover.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan strongly condemned the “heinous attack” and said Turkey would not give in to efforts to cause division in society.

“No matter what its origin, aim or name, we are against any form of terrorist act or terrorist organisation,” he added.

“Like other acts of terror, the attack at Ankara Central Station is taking aim at our unity, brotherhood and future."

Violence between Turkey and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants has flared in recent months, with the government launching operations in response to what it said were rising attacks on security forces in the predominantly Kurdish south-east. 

The PKK called on its fighters and supporters to stop guerrilla activities in Turkey ahead of elections on 1 November.

Additional reporting by agencies

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