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Man shot dead in Turkish protest

A 22-YEAR-OLD man was shot dead during an anti-government protest in a city near the border with Syria.

The Hatay province governor's office said the man was shot during a demonstration in Antakya city and later died in hospital.

Some reports suggested the man may have been shot by demonstrators trying to inflame tensions.

Thousands have joined anti-government rallies across Turkey to voice discontent with the 10-year rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The protests, the biggest Turkey has seen in recent years, were sparked by police crackdown of a peaceful sit-in to prevent demolition of a park in Istanbul.



Another protester was reported killed in Istanbul. Officials said that death was accidental.

Turkey's president and prime minister have taken competing positions over the unrest.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the protesters' demands that he resign and dismissed the demonstrations as the work of Turkey's opposition. But President Abdullah Gul praised the mostly peaceful protesters as expressing their democratic rights.

The two men could face off next year in Turkey's presidential election.