Mineworkers launched a protest to address their unpaid salaries and rights to indemnity on 12 October, in the Soma district of Manisa city, Turkey.
Some of the workers had suffered occupational accidents. Many of them were injured or had lost limbs. However, the companies responsible did not pay workers indemnities over a span of ten years. After a judicial process and negotiations, the issue remained unsolved.
Mineworkers began a march to Ankara from two different points on 16 October. The first group of workers began to walk from the Soma district of Manisa city and the other from the Ermenek district of Karaman. The first group camped in Ankara-İzmir highway on the same day. That night, soldiers attacked workers and detained 31 of them.
During the incident, Kamil Kartal, the organisation department head of the Independent Union of Mineworkers (Bağımsız Maden İş) reacted against soldiers. His reactions and speeches have been top of the agenda in Turkey in recent days.
"Öyle mi alay komutanı? Burdayız biz!" #Korkmuyoruz
"Now you are supposedly using power against us?
And we are supposed to be afraid?
We are not afraid, not even a bit, for God’s sake!"#MadencilerAnkarayaYürüyor #MadenciyleYürü pic.twitter.com/7IJTzfB54C
— Bağımsız Maden İş (@bagimsizmadenis) October 18, 2020
After eight hours, detained workers were released. In the meantime, the other group launched their march from the Ermenek district of Karaman and came together to continue their march in Güneyyurt town. But the soldiers blocked them again. According to Mesopotamia Agency’s (MA) report, workers’ attempt to set up tents have been blocked by soldiers.
Workers persist in walking to Ankara and their protest continues despite the blockade of the soldiers.