ISTANBUL: Police arrested dozens of people in Istanbul on Friday at a rally to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The unauthorised protest convened at Taksim Square, a traditional rallying point for demonstrations.
Riot police were out in force and the marchers were impeded by a series of barriers blocking the streets. “Barricades to the murderers, not to the women,” read one banner carried by protesters.
AFP reporters observed dozens of arrests.
The rally, called by the “Nov 25 platform”, a coalition of women’s groups, brought hundreds of people on to the streets.
They chanted in Turkish and Kurdish “Woman, Life, Freedom, taking up the slogan of Iranian women in their struggle against the hardline regime. Iran has a large diaspora in Turkey, which was estimated at 120,000 people in 2021.
One group of activists unfurled a banner in front of the police proclaiming: “For our freedom we don’t stand silent, we don’t give up on our lives, we don’t bow down to patriarchal state violence.”
Yesim Tukel, a member of the Nov 25 platform, said: “The police who don’t intervene against the perpetrators of violence against women or the murderers of women, closed all roads leading to Taksim under the excuse of security.
“We are not afraid of the state violence today,” said fellow activist Burcu Gulcubuk.
“We are here saying that we will not bow down and we will not be silenced in face of such a violence.
“One day these police who attack us will go away and these streets will be ours again.”
In the face of a crackdown on most public protests, women and LGBT movements are the latest to call for large-scale demonstrations in Turkey.