17 detained as Turkish police intervene in Women’s Day celebrations in Ankara, Tekirdağ

Photo: Tamer Arda Erşin

Turkish police teams on Sunday detained 17 people involved in International Women’s Day celebrations in Ankara and Tekirdağ provinces.

Ten people were detained in front of the Çankaya municipal building in Ankara, while seven were taken into custody in Tekirdağ’s Çorlu Heykel Square after they were subjected to disproportionate force by the police.

Turkish media reports said police took heavy security measures and used pepper spray to disperse the crowds where the celebrations were taking place and that the number of detainees could increase further.

When some of the women resisted the police, the police attacked the participants who continued to chant slogans such as “Long live March 8,” “Long live women’s solidarity” and “We won’t keep silent, we are not afraid and we will not bow down.”

The Turkish government has also banned celebrations of the upcoming International Women’s Day in Diyarbakır province. According to reports the Turkish governor of the predominantly Kurdish-populated province of Diyarbakır on Wednesday rejected a request for permission to hold celebrations for International Women’s Day on March 8.

The Diyarbakır Women’s Platform, the local chamber of the Medical, Education and Science Workers Union and the Confederation of Public Employee Trade Unions (KESK) said their members wanted to hold rallies in public spaces from March 1 to March 10.

In response, the Diyarbakır Governor’s Office said all public meetings, rallies, marches, sit-ins, civic activities, statements to the press and protests were prohibited, the privately owned pro-government Doğan news agency reported.

The freedom of assembly has been severely restricted in Turkey due to a state of emergency that went into effect following a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016 and is still in force. International Women’s Day is marked every March 8. (SCF with turkishminute.com)

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