The 959th vigil organised by the Saturday Mothers, a collective of women steadfast in their demand for justice for their relatives who have disappeared in custody, was again met with police intervention. The intervention escalated into physical attacks on the Saturday Mothers and activists who stood in solidarity with their cause.
Despite the “violation” verdict of the Turkish Constitutional Court (AYM) against the police intervention, the 19-week-long police blockade of Galatasaray Square continued. Many streets in the square were blocked by police forces and detention vehicles in anticipation of the planned action. Another group of supporters, including members and deputies of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Green Left Party, were also met with a police cordon.
After the blockade, journalists were forcibly removed from the area, effectively preventing them from taking photographs.
Before the arrests, the police announced that the action had been banned by the district governor’s office. On 23 February, however, the AYM ruled that the police’s use of force against the Saturday Mothers’ peaceful protests violated human rights, but despite this ruling, the court’s decision has yet to be effectively implemented.
Subsequently, the co-chair of the Human Rights Association (İHD), Eren Keskin, was handcuffed and detained at the edge of the blockade together with other demonstrators, including two members of the public, who naturally reacted to the harsh police intervention and arrests. The reported number of arrests was close to 20.
Meanwhile, another demonstration in support of the Saturday Mothers organised by the İHD in Adana was violently attacked and around 39 people were arrested, including four lawyers.