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Students occupy Istanbul university over Turkey mining disaster

Published on May 18, 2014 9:42 PM
A girl takes a photo of graffiti slogans written by university students from Istanbul Technical University`s Mining Engineering Faculty on May 17, 2014, as part of a protest against the mining disaster that claimed over 300 lives. -- PHOTO: AFP

ISTANBUL (AFP) - "This faculty is occupied," reads a huge banner hanging from the mining department of an Istanbul university, where Turkish students have been holding all-night vigils over a devastating mine disaster that claimed over 300 lives.

What started as a small protest against the prestigious Istanbul Technical University's links with the company that operates the mine in the western town of Soma evolved into a full-fledged occupation on Friday after around 1,000 students chained the doors shut.

Rubbing sleepy eyes, 21-year-old student Orkun, who only gave one name out of fear of repercussions, said: "We will hold until we get results".

The occupation has already born some fruit, with the university announcing it would cut ties with the Soma Komur mining company, which used to have employees on the faculty's advisory board. But that is not enough for the students.

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