More than 650 individuals, a vast number of children among them, were detained during and after the Newroz celebrations in Turkey’s Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır (Amed) on Monday, Jin News reported.
While most of the detainees were still in custody as of Tuesday morning, a woman who was detained for ‘being dressed in traditional Kurdish outfit’ and released after giving a statement, protested at the brutal treatment by the police.
Halime Erdem, aged 67, said: “Many detainees were beaten at the police station. There were children among them. This is cruelty.”
Upon massive arrests, the Diyarbakır Bar Association released a statement, calling for the immediate release of detained children. The statement underlined that the children were kept in custody illegally. It said:
“Around 100 children, who wanted to join in the Newroz celebrations, have been detained lawlessly by the police. Accusations concerning Newroz celebrations, activities which exercise the right to peaceful demonstration, are based on no legal ground. Furthermore, keeping detained children in conditions of police custody and in violation of the regulations that prohibit ill treatment of detainees constitute another lawless practice. The detained children should be immediately released.”
Despite attempts by the police to prevent or at the very least reduce participation in the Newroz celebration by subjecting people to long body searches and attacking groups who protested, the celebrations in Diyarbakır on Monday was attended by hundreds of thousand people.
For the Kurdish people, Newroz, or ‘the new day’, marks both the arrival of the new year on the spring equinox, and a day of uprisal for freedom.
House raids, arrests in Nusaybin
Jin News has also reported that there were many house raids in another Kurdish-majority city, Nusaybin (Nisêbîn), after the Newroz celebrations in the city that attracted tens of thousands of people on Monday.
Some individuals were beaten by the police during the house raids and many have been detained.