Several injured in blast at Kurdish opposition party rally in Turkey

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 05, 2015 11:12 AM

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - An explosion apparently caused by an electrical fault injured several people at an opposition party rally in Turkey's mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir on Friday, days before parliamentary elections.

Television footage showed people being carried out on stretchers as organizers of the rally for the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) announced on loudspeakers that the explosion had been caused by a fault in a power generator and urged people to stay calm.

The explosion rocked the parade ground just before HDP Chairman Selahattin Demirtas was to address the crowd.

Television images showed black smoke. Six people were hurt in the blast, state-run Anatolia News Agency said.

Security has been tight at HDP political rallies as tensions run high ahead of Sunday's election. On Thursday, a riot erupted in the northern town of Erzurum as nationalists clashed with HDP supporters at a Demirtas rally.

Demirtas has said his party has been the target of more than 70 violent attacks during the campaign.

The HDP is on the cusp of a 10 percent vote threshold required to enter parliament, and would be the first pro-Kurdish party to do so.

Should it pass the barrier, it could deprive the ruling AK Party of the majority it has enjoyed since sweeping to power in 2002.

(Reporting by Seyhmus Cakan; Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Andrew Roche)