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Cash-strapped Libyans ransack Istanbul consulate

Cash-strapped Libyans ransack Istanbul consulate

Turkish police detained more than two dozen Libyans after they occupied and ransacked the Libyan consulate in Istanbul on Friday to protest at a lack of financial support from their government while in Turkey for medical treatment.


March 24, 2012 3:39 by

Scuffles broke out and protesters threw stones, as riot police dispersed a crowd of around 70 supporters outside the building and sealed off the surrounding streets, near Istanbul’s landmark Taksim Square.

Protesters chanted angry slogans as they slapped and stamped on a poster of Muammar Gaddafi they said had been found inside the building, though rebel forces caught and killed the former dictator in October. The protesters also smashed doors, windows, phones, desks and computers in the consulate.

“We detained a total of 32 Libyans. They complained they haven’t received money for months,” Osman Yildirim, police chief for the downtown Beyoglu district of Istanbul.

He said the Libyans believed they were entitled to receive 250 euros a month from the consulate while they were in Turkey for treatment, not just for themselves but for each accompanying family member.

Some wanted to stay in Turkey, and some wanted to get married, he added.

Libyans in Turkey have frequently protested outside both the consulate in Istanbul and embassy in Ankara in recent months.

In November, a lone Libyan gunman, reportedly suffering from psychological problems, was shot dead by police after he wounded two people in a shooting spree at Topkapi Palace, one of Istanbul’s biggest tourist draws. (Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by John Stonestreet)


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