NEW: 19 dead, 145 injured, and 388 arrested, Turkish PM says
As ISIS moves in on Kobani across the border, violent protests break out in Turkey
Demonstrators want Turkey to do more against ISIS as it closes in on Kobani
As ISIS militants seem poised to take the strategic city of Kobani at the Turkish-Syrian border, violent protests have broken out in Turkey, leaving some demonstrators dead.
The death toll has reached 19, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said Wednesday. Another 145 people have been injured, and 388 have been arrested, he said.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets for the protests, at times ignoring curfews set by the government.
Some demonstrators died in clashes between rival groups, authorities said. Others died in clashes with police.
A new security office will work around the clock to improve security in the country, Davutoglu said.
The protesters, many of them Kurds, are calling on the Turkish government to take tough action against ISIS, and to allow Turkish fighters to go across the border and fight ISIS militants.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said ground troops are needed in the fight against the Islamist militants. He wants a no-fly zone and a safe haven area established, and has called for the arming of opposition groups in Iraq and Syria.
“Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse pro-Kurdish protesters across the country who had set up barricades, set fire to buses and cars and attacked police with fireworks and stones,” the semi-official Anadolu news agency reported.
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said protesters are supporting the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which he called a terrorist group. The protests invite terror and chaos to Turkey, he said, according to Anadolu.
CNN’s Hamdi Alkhshali, Ingrid Formanek, Gul Tuysuz, and Andrew Finkel contributed to this report.