07/22/2021, 09.13
TURKEY
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Police use rubber bullets and arrests on Suruc massacre protesters

At least 62 people arrested, eight journalists injured in police attacks. Demonstrations took place in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. An officer threw a woman down the stairs of the hospital where she had gone for medical treatment. Unanimous condemnation of police violence. 

 

 

Istanbul (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Turkish police have beaten and arrested dozens of people who took to the streets in at least three cities in the country in recent days to commemorate the "Suruc massacre" of the Kurdish minority at the hands of the Islamic State (IS, formerly Isis).

The demonstration was promoted by the Suruç Families Initiative, a platform formed by the families of the victims, joined by various student and youth organisations. When the demonstrators started to march, the police intervened with tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets. 

The commemoration was held on 20 July in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir and the same scenes of police violence were reported in all three cities. According to some sources, at least 62 people were arrested and eight journalists were injured in the clashes, as they were shot by police officers in riot gear.

In Istanbul, the demonstration took place in the Kadiköy district in the Asian part of the city. When the crowd tried to move, police started to fire tear gas and rubber bullets, arresting several people. In Ankara and Izmir, members of the movement had been given permission to gather, but when they tried to march, police officers immediately intervened. 

On social media there were pictures of police spraying tear gas on the armoured cars where the arrested people were held, then closing the doors and simulating a situation of suffocation. A young woman was thrown down the stairs of the hospital where she had been taken for medical examinations by the policeman who had previously arrested her.

"The institutions that cannot understand that the press is an indispensable part of democracy in Turkey trigger verbal and physical violence against journalists to hinder the people's right to information," the Turkish Journalists Association said in a written statement. Condemnation of the violence also came from the International Press Institute (IPI) and the Turkish Union of Journalists (Tgs), which published several pictures of reporters injured by the police. 

The "Suruc massacre" took place on 20 July 2015 in the Kurdish-majority town of the same name on the Syrian border. A bomb explosion hit a group of Kurdish militants who were giving a press conference about their plans to cross the border to help those rebuilding Kobane, then the focus of a violent battle between Kurds and Islamic State militias. To date, there is only one suspect under arrest for the attack, Yakup Şahin, who is also accused of planning a terrorist attack against a gathering of Kurdish and left-wing groups in Ankara on 10 October 2015, which cost the lives of 109 people.

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