The police have attacked a demonstration organised by the Peoples’ Democratic Party in Turkey’s eastern province of Tunceli (Dersim) when the protestors wanted to read a press statement regarding the ongoing hungers strikes in Turkish prisons, according to Mesopotamia Agency.
The HDP activists came together on Sanat Street in Dersim to read a press statement regarding the hunger strikes launched by political prisoners in Turkey 56 days ago on the 27 Nov 2020, to demand the isolation imposed upon the Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader Abdullah Öcalan be lifted. As the activists gathered the police blockaded the street and announced that the protest was forbidden.
The HDP activists then began to read their press statement in front of their party building with a banner that read, “Accept the demands, end the hunger strikes”.
“There have been many hunger strike protests in the past demanding the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan as well as all other prisoners on Imrali Island comes to an end. All these protests managed to partially break the isolation. However, the bans on Imrali visits were introduced and have been imposed since 7 August 2017. This is a situation breaking the laws of The United Nation’s Mandela Rules and national execution law No. 5275 as well as opposing the the advice of the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhumane or Degrading Treatment. (CPT). The Ministry of Justice should immediately end this unlawfull application on Imrali Island,” said the HDP Provincial Co-Chair Özlem Toprak.
Whilst the police attacked the press statement on the grounds that the banner included the words “Imrali”, “Isolation” and “Hunger Strike”, they also confiscated the banner and ripped it into pieces.
The statement was ended by the activists moments after the police intervention and activists left the protest zone, yet the police reportedly continued the blockade for a while.