Turkey’s pro-Kurdish party vowed further protests on Saturday during a rally in Ankara on the last day of its “march for democracy” under tight security.
The protest began Monday with two rallies in the northwest and southeast of Turkey and was followed by demonstrations in Istanbul and other cities during the week.
It was organized by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) after two of its MPs and a deputy from the secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) were barred from parliament on June 4.
In Ankara, dozens of people gathered in a park wearing vests saying “all together” near the parliament for a tense rally watched by riot police.
“Despite the obstacles put in our way, they didn’t stop us. They tried to stop us by banning entries and exits for 16 cities on the way, riding rough shod over the constitution and law,” HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar said.
On Monday, police had fired tear gas and plastic bullets at a group as the march began in Silivri, northwestern Turkey, while other officers prevented people from joining the demonstration.
“Yet we came together with our people on the streets and in neighborhoods,” HDP’s other co-chair Pervin Buldan noted.
“Our fight for democracy, freedom, equality, peace and justice will continue without interruption and with greater determination,” Sancar added.
Buldan said the had party prepared a three-month “Fight For Democracy Program” of action between June 1 and September 1, but did not provide details.
The government accuses the HDP of being a political front for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency against the Turkish state since 1984.
The HDP denies the accusations and insists they are targeted because of their opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.