Turkish police on Thursday detained approximately 100 demonstrators who had gathered to observe the Action Day of Trade Unions for World Peace in İstanbul’s Kadıköy district, the Bianet news website reported.
According to the Freedom for Lawyers Association (ÖHD), the demonstrators were sprayed with tear gas and prevented from staging a march.
Although journalists were barred from observing the demonstration, reporter Tuğçe Yılmaz was allegedly sexually harassed by a police officer.
1 Eylül Dünya Barış Günü için Kadıköy’de basın açıklaması yapmak isteyen ve aralarında müvekkillerimizin de bulunduğu 100 kişi hukuka aykırı bir şekilde keyfi bir saldırıyla gözaltına alınmıştır.++
— ÖHD İstanbul (@ohd_istanbul) September 1, 2022
Yılmaz, who writes for Bianet, tweeted that a police officer had squeezed her breast. She shared a video in which she calls out the officer, who responds by telling her she’s free to file a complaint.
“I was prevented from reporting during the demonstration, as were my colleagues. In addition I was physically harassed by a police officer,” Yılmaz later tweeted.
Bugün Kadıköy’deki 1 Eylül Barış Günü eyleminde hem diğer arkadaşlarım gibi haber takibi yapmam engellendi, hem de bir polisin fiziksel tacizine maruz kaldım. Taciz anına dair görüntü alan gazeteci arkadaşlarımın görüntüleri yaymadan bana/bize iletmesini rica ediyorum. https://t.co/fGVwjyPEPN
— Tuğçe Yılmaz (@tucyil) September 1, 2022
Among those detained were elderly women from the Peace Mothers, a women’s civil rights movement that aims to promote peace between Turkey’s various ethnic groups.
According to recent data from the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV), Turkish police employed unlawful tactics including mistreatment and beating while detaining 13,935 people between 2018 and 2021.
In an earlier statement the TİHV said restricting or suspending the freedoms of assembly and demonstration was a way to narrow the scope of democratic citizenship and to gradually destroy democracy in Turkey