Five soldiers injured as clashes erupt during protests against security posts in Diyarbakır, Bingöl
Gendarmerie officers have used tear gas and water cannon against a group of protesters who dug ditches on the road connecting the provinces of Diyarbakır and Bingöl. AA PhotoFive soldiers were injured in clashes between gendarmerie officers and demonstrators protesting against the construction of a security post in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on June 4.
Tensions in the province’s sensitive Lice district have been ongoing since last week, with three other soldiers injured during clashes May 31. Gendarmerie also raided a similar protest in the neighboring province of Bingöl.
Protesters, including alleged members of the Patriotic Revolutionary Youth Movement (YDG-H), a youth organization linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), blocked the road connecting Diyarbakır to the eastern city of Bingöl on June 4 by digging ditches of between two and five meters.
The gendarmerie launched a raid early in the morning, resorting to tear gas and water cannons as demonstrators responded by hurling fireworks and stun grenades, Doğan news agency reported. The five injured soldiers were transferred to a hospital. Construction workers were rushed to the area to close the ditches.
A similar crackdown was also conducted against demonstrators who have been occupying the road between Bingöl’s Karlıova district and Varto in the neighboring province of Muş for two days to protest the construction of another security post.
Around 1,000 protesters including locals from the Kargapazarı village and YDG-H members have also been protesting the building of a dam in the region.
Meanwhile, unknown people have marked the doors of three specialist sergeants' houses in Diyarbakır's Bağlar neigborhood, where the soldiers have been living with their families.
District Gov. Berkan Sönmezay said a probe had been launched into the incident, while the houses were evacuated.
The main Kurdish party, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), has repeatedly voiced its opposition to the construction of new gendarmerie posts across Turkey.
A young demonstrator, Medeni Yıldırım, was killed by a soldier during a protest against the construction of a similar gendarmerie post in Diyarbakır’s Lice district last year during the nationwide Gezi protests. Yıldırım has been immortalized as one of the eight youths to fall during the Gezi crackdown.
The protests come as the political debate over children allegedly kidnapped by the PKK has deepened, with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan calling on the BDP and its sister party, the People’s Democracy Party (HDP), to obtain their release.
“Otherwise, we have other methods,” said Erdoğan, also emphasizing that the government would not permit actions such as roadblocks.