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Turkey Considering Harsher Punishment for Protesters

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu wants to strengthen punishment for protests in country.

ANKARA, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu proposed a bill Tuesday that envisages stricter punishment for participants of street protests, granting wider powers to the country's security forces.

The proposed "homeland security reform" envisages harsher punishments for demonstrators that damage public property and wear masks during street rallies. Moreover, the new law considers throwing Molotov cocktails a crime comparable to throwing bombs.

If the law is passed, protesters carrying weapons may be sentenced for up to four years in prison. Moreover, the bill suggests harsher punishment for inciting violence on the Internet. According to the new bill, drug trafficking is also equivalent to terrorism.

Davutoglu also warned protesters against destroying water cannon trucks that are used for riot control.

Mass protests in southeastern Turkey in support of the Kurdish population of Kobani, a town in Syria fighting against the Islamic State militant group, started earlier in October. The police used rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons to disperse the demonstrations. At least 30 people have been killed and 350 more injured, including 139 security force members.

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