The Turkish government is facing mounting criticism over what has become the nation's deadliest mining disaster.
Protests have broken out in parts of the country, with demonstators voicing their anger over the government's failure to improve mine safety and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's move to privatize the mining sector.
Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse protesters in Instanbul, who tried to march on the country's energy ministry.
Turkey's major trade unions have joined in, calling a one-day strike.
Prime Minister Erdogan, while visiting the accident site in Soma, tried to defend his government by pointing out that such disasters occur everywhere.
"Such mine accidents do not happen only in Turkey, It happens in many countries, and many people died in such coal mine accidents. Our country is in a much better position."
The disaster has given fuel to an already outraged segment of the Turkish population upset over corruption allegations surrounding the prime minister and those closest to him.
The death toll from the mining accident has topped 2-hundred-70 and looks sure to rise even further.
No survivors have surfaced since early Wednesday.
Government officials say about one-hundred-20 workers remain trapped in the mine some two kilometers underground.
Shin Se-min, Arirang News.
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