29 foreign protesters detained in Turkey

Saturday, August 23, 2008

ANKARA, Turkey: Turkish police on Saturday detained 29 foreigners and three Turks during a peaceful protest against plans to build a nuclear power plant near a Black Sea port city.

The police broke up the protest in front of the governor's office and "forcibly took" the protesters to a police station, said Niklas Hartmann of European Youth for Action, an environmentalist group.

Police officers confirmed the detentions during what they called an unauthorized protest.

The detained included at least two American citizens and several German and French ones, along with other European nationals, Hartmann said by telephone from Sinop. The group has been camping near Sinop since Aug. 9.

The protesters posed as dead bodies on the ground to warn the people about what they consider the dangers of nuclear power plants.

"The Turkish state seems to be very afraid of their citizens learning how dangerous nuclear power is. That is why authorities do not tolerate any protest," Hartmann said in a statement. "We are seriously concerned about the denial of freedom of speech in Turkey."

Turkey has announced plans to build a nuclear plant near Sinop after the construction of its first nuclear power plant near the Mediterranean port city of Mersin.

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