At least 49 detained at referendum protests across Turkey
AFP photoAt least 49 people have been detained after protesting against the April 16 referendum results in rallies across Turkey.
Some 14 protesters were detained by the police in the Mediterranean province of Antalya, where the majority of the electorate said “No” to the constitutional changes. At least 50 people had gathered at 9:00 p.m. on April 17 in front of the historic Hadrian’s Gate to protest against the referendum results.
On April 16, millions of Turks voted on the constitutional referendum on whether to change the parliamentary system to an executive presidency. After a slim victory for the “Yes” camp, the “No” voters rejected the results, as many opposition groups said the elections involved irregularities and fraud.
But anger grew from opposition groups after the Supreme Election Board (YSK) had abruptly decided halfway through voting day to accept unsealed ballot papers as valid.
Police banned protesters from making statements and chanting, warning them to disperse as the demonstration was not authorized. Police intervened with tear gas and water cannons after the group refused to leave.
Meanwhile, 10 protesters were detained by police in the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir. Police intervened in a group of protesters, who were banging on pots and pans, marching through a park. Protesters wanted to march through the city’s Üniversite Street as they chanted, “No to presidency.” Among the detained protesters was Emine Kaya, the Tepebaşı district head of Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The detained protesters were taken to the Yunus Emre State Hospital for medical examinations.
In addition, there were protests in the Aegean province of İzmir, which overwhelmingly voted against the constitutional changes.
Six people were detained on charges of “insulting state officials.” A number of protesters in the Alsancak area of İzmir’s Konak district had allegedly intercepted a vehicle carrying a group of “Yes” voters.
In addition, police detained 19 people, who were mostly students, in Bornova district’s Küçük Park. Police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the group, warning them to leave the demonstration as it was unauthorized.
Some 50 people, including women and children, took to the streets in the Aegean province of Muğla’s Marmaris district on April 17.
The group gathered after calls for protest on social media, marching in dismay after the referendum results were announced.
The police chief of the district, Ertan Sarıkaya, told the crowd to disperse, warning them that if they don’t they would be detained. Some protesters responded to Sarıkaya and said they were protesting for their children’s future.
Meanwhile, demonstrations were held in Istanbul’s largest naysayer districts Beşikaş and Kadıköy, each voting by more than 80 percent against the changes.