Protesters Tear-Gassed After Turkey Mine Blast

Death toll rises to 238; 120 still trapped, says PM

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted May 14, 2014 10:35 AM CDT

(Newser) – With the death toll from Turkey's mine explosion at 238, some are attacking a mine management system that "thinks only about money," as one worker puts it. Anger has sparked protests, including one that saw 800 student demonstrators hit with tear gas and water cannons in Ankara, the International Business Times reports. In Istanbul, demonstrators sprayed words like "murderers" on the walls of the offices of mine owner Soma Holdings. The government, too, is under fire after the ruling party rejected an opposition motion to inspect the mines April 29, the IBT notes. Labor officials say the mine was inspected in March.

A union confederation calls the disaster a "massacre." It notes that mines are operated through "chains of subcontractors," making oversight difficult, National Turk reports. Protests are also underway online, using the hashtag "#kazadegilcinayet," which means "murder, not an accident," the IBT notes. Some 120 workers are still trapped, says prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, per RT. Rescuers are pumping oxygen into the shafts to help them survive, Reuters reports. The government has called for three days of mourning.

Rescue workers carry the body of a miner outside the mine in Soma, some 155 miles south of Istanbul, early Wednesday, May 14, 2014.
Rescue workers carry the body of a miner outside the mine in Soma, some 155 miles south of Istanbul, early Wednesday, May 14, 2014.   (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center right, is surrounded by security members as he visits the coal mine in Soma, Wednesday, May 14, 2014.
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, center right, is surrounded by security members as he visits the coal mine in Soma, Wednesday, May 14, 2014.   (AP Photo/Emre Tazegul)
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