ISTANBUL, March 9 (AP) – Turkish women defied official bans to demonstrate for about two hours during an International Women’s Day march in Istanbul before police used tear gas to disperse remaining protesters and detained several .
Thousands gathered in a central neighborhood on Wednesday for a protest that combined women’s rights with the staggering toll of the deadly earthquake that struck Turkey and Syria a month ago.
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For the second year in a row, organizers were banned from marching on the popular Istiklal pedestrian street in Turkey’s largest city, where the Women’s Day parade has been held since 2003. Police blocked demonstrators’ access to the avenue. After the group ended its demonstration at 2100 local time, an Associated Press reporter saw officials detain at least 30 people and use tear gas.
Local authorities banned the march, saying the area was not an authorized demonstration site. They also claimed that the marches could “irritate” certain sections of Turkish society, lead to verbal or physical attacks, be abused by terrorist groups and threaten national security – as well as restrict freedom of movement in cultural and tourist areas.
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The nearby metro station is closed.
Lale Pesket, a 28-year-old drama student, said it wasn’t fair.
“We didn’t hurt anyone, but unfortunately we faced police violence every time,” she said. “Our only concern is the emancipation of women, we want to have free space in a world free of violence and better economic conditions, especially for women.”
Protesters hold banners that read “We are angry, we are mourning” as more than 46,000 people died and hundreds of thousands were left homeless by the Feb. 6 earthquake in Turkey that was widely deemed unsafe people hold memorial services.
A banner read “Control Contractors, Not Women,” referring to contractors accused of flouting building codes and facilitating vandalism.
“It’s hard enough being a woman in Turkey, one of the reasons we came here was … the earthquake … and the people left under the rubble,” said Gulsum Ozturk, a 23-year-old university student.
Protest organizers also slammed the government for withdrawing from a European treaty – signed in Istanbul in 2011 and named after the city – that protects women from domestic violence and “endangers the lives of millions of women”.
The We Will Stop Femicides Platform in Turkey said 328 women were killed by men in the past year. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the body of content may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)