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Police charged with violence in breaking up women's protest



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Ankara (dpa) - Prosecutors have laid charges against 54 police officers involved in violently breaking up a peaceful rally of women protesters earlier in the year, the Anadolu news agency reported.

Some of the officers charged with a number of offences could be facing prison sentences of up to 33 years.

A couple of hundred women attended the rally on March 8 in Istanbul which was violently broken up by riot police wielding batons.

Television footage of the violence was broadcast around the world and led to condemnations from human rights groups and the European Union.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan refused to condemn the police action instead blaming the press for giving Turkey a bad image.

Fifty-six women had previously been charged with taking part in an illegal demonstration and refusing to obey police orders to disperse but that case was thrown out of court in June.

Copyright 2005 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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