Turkish police have once again prevented the Saturday Mothers, a group seeking justice for their disappeared relatives, from marching to Istanbul’s Galatasaray Square, and detained 24 individuals. This 16th consecutive blockade of the march comes despite the Constitutional Court’s ruling that the ban on their weekly vigil was a violation of rights.
The Saturday Mothers, who have been protesting for 956 weeks, were joined by bar association presidents from various cities and numerous individuals for this week’s vigil. The group was prevented from marching to Galatasaray Square by the police, citing the “ban” decision of the District Governor of Beyoğlu .
When the Saturday Mothers and bar association presidents attempted to break through the blockade and march to Galatasaray Square, the police intervened. Fatoş Erdoğan, a journalist, was reportedly dragged along the ground by the police, who then detained numerous individuals. The Saturday Mothers responded to the blockade and detentions on their Twitter account, stating, “There is no law, no constitution, no freedom of assembly. There is only violence, detention, handcuffs.”
Similar protests were held in support of the Saturday Mothers in other cities. The Human Rights Association (İHD) and families of the disappeared held protests in Diyarbakır (Amed), Batman (Êlih) and İzmir, demanding justice for victims like Mesut Dündar, who was tortured and killed by police in 1992, Çetin Abayay, a Batman representative of the Özgür Halk newspaper killed in an armed attack, and pro-Kurdish People’s Labour Party (HEP) Diyarbakır Chairman Vedat Aydın who was abducted and murdered.
In Dersim, İHD Dersim Branch co-chairs Gönül Sonbahar and Gürbüz Solmaz were detained along with Küba Oktay and Hüseyin Yaşar Sezgin, who had gone to support the protest. Journalist Hıdır Yıldız was also reportedly assaulted by the police while covering the same protest.