Protests intensify as PM arrives in Turkey’s southeastern Hakkari.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:none; color:#000000;}.hurriyet2008-detailbox-newslink:hover { font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size:13px; font-weight:bold; text-decoration:underline; color:#990000;}Pro-Kurdish DTP supporters of Turkey's southeastern province of Hakkari held street protests and closed stores on Sunday objecting to a visit by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, a day after tensions rose during his visit to the eastern province of Van. (UPDATED)

A group of some 3,000 pro-Kurdish DTP supporters gathered to protest the prime minister, shouted “Murderer Erdogan!” and clashed with police in Yuksekova town in the southeastern province of Hakkari Sunday, Dogan News Agency reported.

Protestors hurled rocks at police who responded with tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowds.

Police clashed with stone-throwing pro-Kurdish Democratic Society (DTP) supporters protesting a visit by the prime minister to the Kurdish-dominated eastern province Van on Saturday.

Thousands of supporters of the DTP also staged a sit-in Saturday in Diyarbakir to denounce government policies in the region and the alleged mistreatment of Ocalan.

The unrest came as Erdogan pledged unity and promised fresh steps to develop the impoverished region during a ceremony to inaugurate a hospital in Yuksekova before moving on to the nearby city of Hakkari.

"Let us not stand against those who want to sow discord among us...Let us protect our peace and stand united. If we increase our solidarity, we will also increase our development," he said.

Erdogan also underlined that the government would carry on with and have made significant progress on human rights and that it pursues EU membership with determination. "We will undertake many more reforms," he said.

Three people were also injured Saturday in an explosion at the offices of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Hakkari.

Tensions rose in the region after some deputies from the DTP claimed that Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the terror organization PKK, was being mistreated in Imrali prison, where he is serving a life sentence.

Erdogan on Sunday firmly denied the allegations, dismissing them as a ploy to drain support from the ruling party ahead of local elections.

The AKP, which won majority in the general election last year, is said to set its sight on winning local administrations in the Kurdish-majority southeast, which are held by the DTP.