20 March 2016
After years of peaceful Newroz celebrations in Turkey and Kurdistan, this year the AKP government banned Newroz celebrations throughout the country. The Kurdish people, who said that they would not recognise the bans, have taken to the streets to celebrate Newroz and protest against the AKP government, who has initiated a huge crackdown in Kurdish cities and towns resulting in the killing of hundreds of civilians in the past six months.
Newroz celebrations today were attacked in many towns and cities by the Turkish police:
In the early hours of today, hundreds of people gathered in the Daglioglu neighbourhood of Seyhan in the city of Adana to celebrate the Kurdish New Year, Newroz. Soon after, Turkish riot police surrounded the peaceful gathering and attacked the people with tear gas and water cannons. Clashes between the people and the police are continuing in the neighbourhoods.
In the city of Batman, Special Forces police had started to surround the area in which Newroz celebrations were due to take place. As thousands of people started to gather the police attacked the people with tear gas and water cannon. The people responded with stones and barricades on the streets. The people are refusing to leave the area in which the celebrations are due to take place. Reports have come in that two people have been injured as a result of the attack by the police, including a fifteen-year-old girl. The police have also attacked the mass of people that had gathered to welcome HDP Co-chair, Selahattin Demirtas, who is due to speak at the Newroz celebrations in the city.
The Newroz celebrations in Istanbul, banned by the city’s Governor, were due to commence in Bakirkoy. The police had taken extraordinary security precautions from the early hours of this morning by closing off all the roads leading to the celebration area and closing down the main subway station near the venue. The people, however, were adamant on celebrating Newroz and as the people that had gathered tried to enter the area of the celebrations, the police attacked the people using tear gas and heavy-handed police tactics. Reports are coming in of multiple detentions and injuries. The clashes are ongoing is several neighbourhoods across Istanbul.