Turkish PM defends mining safety as hope fade for workers still trapped underground. Chris Meyers reports.
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The death toll rises to over 270 in a coal mine, in Soma, in western Turkey.
Protests broke out in major cities around Turkey as people blamed Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan for ignoring warnings over the safety of the country's mines.
In Istanbul clashes broke out, with police firing teargas to disperse protesters.
Erdogan however defended his country's mining record during a visit to Soma.
(SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH PRIME MINISTER, TAYYIP ERDOGAN, SAYING:
"Such mine accidents do not happen only in Turkey. It also happens in many countries such as the United States, China, France, India and Belgium. I give, for example, figures for death tolls, many people died in such coal mine accidents. Our country is in a much better position."
For those on site hopes have begun to fade as some workers still remain trapped and efforts have slowed.
(SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) MINER HARUN OZER SAYING:
"We are on hold. The rescue operation is on hold. They are trying to ventilate the air, after that the rescue work will resume"
The fire that broke in the mine happened during a shift change, leading to uncertainty over the exact number of miners trapped.
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