Democracy March is pushing on despite brutal government attacks even against the elected representatives

During their travel, the group that included a large number of National Assembly representatives were stopped at Bismil and were attacked with tear gas. When the representatives tried to get out of their vehicles to meet the greeting supporters the police attacked and prevented them from leaving their vehicles. The representatives were directly targeted for tear gas by the Turkish police.

Democracy March is pushing on despite brutal government attacks even against the elected representatives

When no other alternative was left for the opposition progressive party HDP, the National Assembly representatives of the organization and their supporters took to the streets to defend democracy in Turkey against the authoritarian AKP government.

After elected provincial governments won by the HDP were forcefully seized and one after the other National Assembly elected representatives were sent to prison with completely trumped-up charges, the HDP opposition party started a “Democracy March” where the representatives met with their supporters and constituents.

The march is taking place from two farthest points to the nation’s capital, Ankara, where the representatives expect to end their demonstration.

This demand for democracy irked the AKP government since no demonstration, march, rally, press conference, gathering or even leafletting is allowed by the Turkish government that criticizes the eroding democratic rights.

One leg of the marches started from the north-west border while the other started from the most south-east. However, both legs of the march have been under attack by the Turkish police. Both marches have seen police trying to block the start and the gathering of the participants. Police have used their batons, tear gas and rubber bullets to stop the march coming to Ankara from both sides. And the police does not hesitate to attack the elected representatives since the progressive party has been vilified as a “terrorist organization” by the AKP government.

14 provinces immediately declared “no rally” laws when the Democracy March was announced and even banned the marchers to enter their provinces. Yesterday (June 17, 2020) two more provinces joined the others in banning the march.

In response, yesterday the HDP Group Vice President Meral Danış Beştaş said, “Even if you declare curfew not only in the 14 provinces but throughout the entire country will you be able to prevent our demand for democracy.” She called attention to the fatal failure of the AKP government to respond to the coronavirus pandemic while taking the strictest measures to prevent the Democracy March. She said, “The government that could not decide to have a shelter-in-place during the pandemic, then decided on it when forced to, that couldn’t distribute masks, that opened up the shopping malls, that lifted the limited number of people in the public transportation and left the people defenseless against the virus is now banning the march of HDP. These bans cannot stop our march.”

On the third day, despite all attempts by the government to prevent it, the north-west leg from Edirne reached Istanbul and was greeted by hundreds of supporters. The co-President of the party, Pervin Buldan, visited The Labor Party (EMEP), The Unity Party of the Democracy and the Left Party here. In the visits, she emphasized how Turkey needed peace. The co-president of HDP responsible for the NGOs and correspondence with other parties, Tuncer Bakırhan visited the Workers Party of Turkey, and the Socialist Assemblies Federation.

The party members then visited KESK, the Confederation of Public Workers’’ Union and were scheduled to meet with their supporters at Kadıköy district of Istanbul. However, the crowd led by the National Assembly representatives approaching the HDP offices was stopped by the police. The police were under strict orders to not let the marchers meet with their constituents.

The speaker for HDP, Saruhan Oluç, gave a speech at the place where the police stopped them and said the right to assemble and march was for every citizen and was protected in the constitution. He pointed out that the government had violated the constitution by banning a peaceful and constitutionally protected right.

On the south-eastern front the marchers came together with their supporters in Tatvan.

During their travel, the group that included a large number of National Assembly representatives were stopped at Bismil and were attacked with tear gas. When the representatives tried to get out of their vehicles to meet the greeting supporters the police attacked and prevented them from leaving their vehicles. The representatives were directly targeted for tear gas by the Turkish police.

After reaching Diyarbakır, the group went to the HDP offices in the town. However, several HDP representatives were not even allowed to enter the town by the police who stopped them on the highway at the entrance of the town.

In Mardin, the government did not allow any gathering and blocked all entrance and exits from the HDP party building. The government used the coronavirus excuse to ban “all” demonstrations at the exact time when the march was expected to reach the town.

Sendika.org news (M.B.)

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