Day against violence against women: Turkish police beat and arrest protesters

In at least four cities, security forces blocked marches and prevented statements from being read. Major restrictions in the Kurdish area of the country. Opposition movements' denounce of new case of rights violations. Stats on gender-based violence. 

Istanbul (AsiaNews) - On the U.N. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which was celebrated worldwide yesterday, Turkish police prevented women's representatives from taking to the streets and marching in at least four cities.

Officers used force to block the demonstrations, beating and arresting several activists and party members in Şırnak, Van, Ağrı and Mardin, in the country's Kurdish-majority area. 

The marches, peaceful in nature and without political connotations, were promoted and organized by the Free Women's Movement (Tja). According to sources relayed by the Mezopotamya Agency (Ma), security forces in riot gear intervened and beat indiscriminately and then made numerous arrests.

Feleknas Uca, a parliamentarian from the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party (Hdp) movement, emphasizes how "once again [the police] used violence on women. And for that they must pay."

In Ağrı, women gathered outside the Hdp provincial headquarters. Security forces prevented them from reading a statement and made arrests including Hatice Akdağ, a member of the party's Central Executive Committee, and Dilek Karataş, an Hdp member of the city council.

More "lucky" were the women of Mardin, who were allowed to read the document but were prevented from marching because police had previously blocked the streets. 

Gender-based violence remains a topical issue in Turkey, as reflected in figures compiled by the news portal Bianet: from Jan. 1 to Nov. 23 this year, there were at least 296 feminicides and 715 reports of abuse. In 17 cases, the murder victims were female refugees.

In detail, at least 218 women were killed by their husbands or boyfriends; 23 by their fathers, brothers, or sons; eight by their son-in-law, five by neighbors, and 16 by relatives. One woman was murdered by a thief, another by a patient, two by their employer, and as many by "friends."