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Turkey Arrests More Than A Dozen In Connection With Mine Disaster

Turkish authorities arrested more than a dozen people in connection with the country's worst mining disaster.

According to the Times of India, the arrests include mining company executives.

The BBC reports that after the rescue operation concluded on Saturday, the death toll stood at 301.

The BBC adds:

"Tuesday's disaster occurred when an explosion sent carbon monoxide gas into the mine's tunnels while 787 miners were underground.

"Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been criticised for appearing insensitive in his reaction to the disaster. Both Mr Erdogan and his aide Yusuf Yerkel have come under pressure after photos that appeared to show them assaulting protesters were published in Turkish media.

"A heavy police presence descended on Soma on Saturday, setting up checkpoints and detaining dozens of people to enforce a ban on protests."

Sky News reports that some of the miners' family members dispute the death toll and are accusing the government of a "cover-up to hide the true scale of the disaster."

Quoting the Dogan news agency, Reuters reports that 36 people were arrested because they were suspected of wanting to take part in protests.

According to Reuters, they were taken to a sports center in the town of Soma, where they chanted, "the pressure cannot intimidate us."

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.