A demonstration in southeastern Diyarbakır today organized by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) aiming to urge the government to speed up reforms to move forward the Kurdish peace process was quelled by riot police.
Security forces used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protesters as soon as Van independent deputy Aysel Tuğluk prepared to make a statement.
Clashes spread in side streets and at least three protesters were injured. Some protesters have also been detained, daily Radikal reported.
How can peace be achieved without our rights, BDP co-chair asks
BDP co-chair Gültan Kışanak negotiated with police officers, asking them to stop their intervention.
“How are we going to achieve peace if we can’t fulfill our most democratic and legitimate rights. I condemn this violent, fascist attack,” Kışanak told reporters.
“The government should decide if it wants a solution, peace and democratic politics or war, conflict and fascism. Then we will make our own decisions and move on,” Kışanak said, adding that she did not believe that the intervention was not related with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). “The AKP’s attitude is one that incites these attacks. Nobody will escape by accusing local officials or police.”
The demonstration in Diyarbakır was the first of the “government, take a step” rallies announced by the BDP. The party said it would organize a three-month-long “Democratic Resolution Move” demanding the government take action in the form of legal reform for the “second phase” of the peace process, the first one being considered the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK) withdrawal from Turkish soil.
“The main demand the ‘Democratic Resolution Move’ wants the government to fulfill is the freedom of [jailed PKK leader] Mr. Abdullah Öcalan,” the BDP’s statement also said.