Turkish police used excessive force during Nevruz celebrations on Monday in southeastern Diyarbakırprovince, the TR724 news website reported.
Celebrations of the spring festival started early in the morning as large groups gathered at the festival venue. While many people chanted Kurdish slogans of freedom and peace, police did not allow Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) banners in the area.
Nearly 5,000 people were subjected to security searches at the entrance, and many protested that the police were far too slow. Police intervened against the buildup of angry people waiting to get in with batons, tear gas and anti-riot water cannon.
Journalist Erkam Tufan Aytav criticized the police interventions on Twitter, saying they were acts of violence.
Nevruz 2022. Polis şiddeti her yerde pic.twitter.com/e8N3m0Q9Nc
— Erkam Tufan Aytav (@erkamtufan) March 21, 2022
According to the Cumhuriyet daily police officers were stationed at the celebration venue and that many people were detained for shouting slogans.
Nevruz is celebrated by Kurds as the first day of spring. However, Nevruz celebrations have often been marked by heavy-handed police intervention.
In 2017 a police officer fatally shot Kurdish university student Kemal Kurkut during Nevruz celebrations in Diyarbakır. Police found poetry books and clothing in Kurkut’s backpack after he was shot on suspicion that he was a “suicide bomber.”
Last year Istanbul police detained 14 people in the city celebration of Nevruz. Four people were detained for allegedly resisting police, while 10 were taken into custody on charges of disseminating “terrorist propaganda.”