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301 miners dead as rescue ends; PROTESTERS ARRESTED AFTER DISASTER.

Byline: Bruce Walker

Rescue operations at the doomed Turkish mine in Soma have been called off after the recovery of two more bodies yesterday.

They are believed to have been the last of the missing miners and take the final death toll to 301.

The disaster has provoked an angry reaction across the country and protesters have clashed with police near Soma.

The mine's owners have been accused of putting profits ahead of safety and the Turkish government are seen as too close to industry bosses.

Up to 30 protesters were arrested in Soma, including several lawyers linked to the opposition movement.

Yesterday Turkey's energy minister Taner Yildiz said: "The rescue operation was carried out to completion. There are no miners left underground.

"Until today we had focused on search and rescue. Now we will focus on investigations, on what will happen about production.

"But we won't be leaving because the search efforts are ending.

"There will be psychological and social support.'' Officials in Soma banned protests after violent scenes on Friday.

Riot police were called in and used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon to disperse several thousand protesters.

Police have reportedly been stopping campaigners from entering the town to try to prevent further trouble.

But some trade unions, concerned about safety standards in the Turkish mining industry, called for more protests last night.

There have also been anti-government protests in Istanbul and the port of Izmir.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticised for appearing insensitive in his reaction to the disaster.

Both Erdogan and his aide Yusuf Yerkel have come under fire after photos that appeared to show them assaulting protesters were published around the world.

Tuesday's disaster occurred when an explosion sent deadly carbon monoxide gas into the mine's tunnels while 787 men were working underground.

Mine operator Soma Holding has denied any negligence but a former worker, Sengiz Shahan, said that he and his colleagues were too afraid to complain about safety standards.

CAPTION(S):

GRIEF Families mourn at victims' graves

CLAMPDOWN Demonstrators are held on police coach in Soma
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:May 18, 2014
Words:347
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