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Protesters voice anger at southeast Turkey bombing

Written by: Staff

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey, Sep 14 (Reuters) About 1,500 people marched through the largest city in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast today to appeal for peace in the troubled region and voice anger at a bomb blast which killed 10 people.

State prosecutors in Diyarbakir authorised police to search properties at will for three days as they investigated Tuesday evening's blast, the latest in a series of bombings in Turkish cities, including tourist resorts, in recent weeks.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, the bloodiest in Turkey since suicide bombers killed more than 60 people in Istanbul in November 2003. Eight children were among the victims of the latest attack, two less than a year old.

''Break the hands of those who threaten the peace'', ''Find the killers'', the demonstrators chanted as they marched to the site of Tuesday's bombing, a bus stop near a park in the city.

Some protesters shouted slogans in support of Abdullah Ocalan, jailed leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). The outlawed group launched a violent separatist insurgency in 1984 in which more than 30,000 people have died.

Interior Minister Abdulkadir Aksu played down claims on a previously unknown Web site that a shadowy far-right militant group, the Turkish Vengeance Brigade, carried out the bombing in revenge for PKK killings of Turkish soldiers and police.

''Many things are written and displayed (on the Internet) and our colleagues are investigating what is true,'' Aksu told reporters during a visit to Diyarbakir.

Amid tight police security, protesters laid red carnations at the blast site. Most traders in the district pulled down their shop shutters to show support for the protest.

A group of some 500 youths threw stones at police after trying to cross a police barricade before scattering into surrounding streets.

LAST VICTIM IDENTIFIED Newspapers said the bomb had been concealed in a 12-litre plastic water container and police said traces of plastic explosives had been found at the spot.

Nine of the victims were buried on Wednesday in small ceremonies.

Police on Thursday identified the 10th victim as a 14-year-old boy.

Some witnesses said the container, left by a wall, exploded when the boy tried to open it.

The local governor's office previously said it believed the blast happened as the explosives were being transported and could have been destined to target police headquarters.

Police raided houses in the Baglar district where the bomb went off and questioned people believed to have links to Kurdish militants. The PKK has condemned the attack and blamed it on shadowy elements within the Turkish state.

There was no word from the Kurdistan Liberation Hawks (TAK), a group believed linked to the PKK which claimed responsibility for attacks in August. TAK has threatened to turn Turkey into ''hell'' over its policies towards the Kurds.

Diyarbakir Mayor Osman Baydemir said the attack was a bid to sabotage efforts by Kurdish politicians to end the violence.

Reuters LL DB2049

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