a sharp deterioration in working conditions since formerly state-run mines including the one in Soma were leased to private firms.
Several thousand people staged a sit-down protest in front of police water cannon in Istanbul, holding banners with slogans including “It is not accident, It is not fate, it is murder” and “Our hearts are burning in Soma”.
Police fired water cannon to break up a demonstration in Izmir, the nearest large city to Soma, and there were reports of protests in the southern cities of Mersin and Antalya.
Around a thousand people from various trade unions gathered in Ankara to march on the labour ministry, some wearing miners’ helmets and waving banners showing the image of Che Guevara. “The fires of Soma will burn AKP,” and “AKP murderers” they chanted, as police looked on.
History’s worst mine disasters
1942: China’s northeast is the site of the world’s deadliest coal mine disaster when an accident kills 1,549 miners in Japanese-occupied Manchuria during World War II.
1906: A dust explosion in a French mine kills 1,099 workers.
1913: The worst mining disaster in British history was when 439 miners were killed in a gas explosion at the Senghenydd colliery in South Wales.
1960: Coalbrook, South Africa, Clydesdale Colliery mine collapse kills 437.
1962: Disaster at the Luisenthal coal mine in Volklingen, West Germany, kills 299.
1909: 259 men killed in one of the US’s worst coal mine disasters, at the St. Paul Coal Co. mine, Illinois. AP