Police fire tear gas on pro-Kurdish protesters in northwest Turkey

HDP deputy Tuma Celik clash with Turkish riot police in Istanbul, on June 15, 2020. (AFP)

Turkish police fired tear gas and plastic bullets on Monday at pro-Kurdish protesters who had gathered in support of opposition lawmakers who had been removed from parliament.

Dozens of people rallied in Silivri, northwest Turkey, after the parliament barred a deputy from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and two from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) from serving in the assembly.

The rally, billed as a “march” for democracy, was tense, and police also used shields to prevent people from joining it, AFP correspondents said.

At least 10 people were detained.

The mandates of Leyla Guven and Musa Farisogullari of the HDP as well as the CHP’s Enis Berberoglu were scrapped on June 4.

Organisers plan to hold more such rallies this week in different cities, edging closer to Ankara for a final rally there.

Demonstrators clash with Turkish riot police during a “March for Democracy” called by HD), after three opposition MPs were revoked and sent to prison at Silivri, in Istanbul, on June 15, 2020. (AFP)

Demonstrators clash with Turkish riot police during a “March for Democracy” called by HD), after three opposition MPs were revoked and sent to prison at Silivri, in Istanbul, on June 15, 2020. (AFP)

“We will march until peace, freedom and democracy are restored,” HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan told the protestors.

HDP lawmaker Musa Piroglu blocked a road with his wheelchair to prevent a water-cannon truck from chasing protesters, saying: “You will have to crush me to pass!”

HDP militants also gathered in Hakkari in the southeast to protest the replacement of dozens of mayors by government-appointed trustees since local elections in 2019.

“The trustee policy is the biggest coup against democracy,” HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar told the crowd.

Sancar said they were rallying for the three MPs removed as well as “for Figen Yuksekdag and Selahattin Demirtas who have been unfairly and illegally jailed.”

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Ex-HDP leaders Yuksekdag and Demirtas were jailed in November 2016 as the government cracked down on Turkey’s second-largest opposition party.

“The will of the Kurdish people is violated. We don’t accept it,” HDP MP Zeynel Ozen told AFP. “Even if in the end only one person remains, this resistance will continue.”

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Last Update: Monday, 15 June 2020 KSA 20:27 - GMT 17:27
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