Main opposition CHP's ‘justice march’ to end with a mass rally in Istanbul
ISTANBULMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s ‘justice march’ from Ankara to Istanbul is set to end with a mass meeting in Istanbul’s Maltepe district on July 9.
“I am very happy and peaceful. We will be in Istanbul after a long journey without anybody getting any harm,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on July 7 before he and thousands of marchers entered Istanbul’s provincial border.
The 25-day-long march from Ankara to Istanbul, a distance of around 426 kilometers, has been completed with the participation of thousands of marchers from a wide range of social segments, who say they are standing up for justice regardless of their political stance.
On July 9, the last day, Kılıçdaroğlu is expected to walk 3 kilometers from Kartal to the rally arena, where he will be greeted by around one million participants, according to a predication from CHP Istanbul provincial head Cemal Canpolat.
“We organized around 3,000 vehicles to drive participants to Maltepe. The vehicles will be ready in 958 neighborhoods in Istanbul. There will be around 1.5 million citizens,” Canbolat said.
“Entrances will start at 15:00. There will be security points at four different points,” he added.
Security measures have been taken for the event, with side roads leading to the D-100 highway, which marchers have been walking on for the last week to reach Istanbul, is set to be closed for two days.
On July 8, the D-100 road from Çayırova TEM to Tuzla İçmeler Bridge and all the side roads will be closed. Also, D-100 from Piyade School Bridge to Tershane Bridge and northern Şifa neighborhood’s sideways to Istanbul will all be closed.
On July 9, Pendik coastal road and pavements will be closed from IDO to Maltepe. On both days, the closed roads will be directed to the TEM highway.
Government vows to maintain security
As the “justice march” approaches Istanbul, the government has vowed to ensure police forces have taken strict security measures in order to keep the march safe.
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said on July 7 that the security forces have been “taking all necessary measures.”
“Security forces have been making a great effort to prevent any provocation toward the march. However, the natural flow of things has been disturbed during this march. The organizers of this march should take this into consideration,” Yıldırım said.
“They have been acting in the utmost care, I must say. However, this march has accomplished what it aimed. There is no point to continue any longer,” he added, stating that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) wanted the justice demonstrations to finalize with the “justice rally” on July 9.
“To insist on this will turn into a suffering for citizens who have been left in a difficult situation on roads and squares. It might become something tormenting for the main opposition as well. The place for this is the parliament, not roads,” he added.
Opposition to gather under ‘justice’ banner
While the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Grand Unity Party (BBP) previously said they stood against the march, the Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) announced on July 6 that it will join the “justice rally” under the slogan “justice for all.”
“It is one of our most important desires that this struggle continues, builds up, and contributes to democratization in every way with the support we give by collaborating with those organizing the rally,” the HDP said in a statement. Non-governmental organizations, unions and rights groups will also join the rally.