Diyarbakır police drop tear gas from helicopters to quell student clashes
DİYARBAKIR - Doğan News Agency
A helicopter flies over a field as Turkish riot policemen clash with protestors during a demonstration at Dicle University, in Diyarbakir, on April 9. Leftist Kurdish students were protesting after a clashing right-wing groups at Dicle University. AFP photoA row between two student groups at Diyarbakır’s Dicle University April 9 ended in a police intervention, with police helicopters dropping tear gas to scatter students who were trying to organize a march in fields near the campus.
Tension on campus had risen a day earlier, after a leftist group tried to prevent a student group reportedly linked to Turkey’s outlawed Islamist Hizbullah organization from distributing invitations to a conference on theology under the title “Our Prophet.” Both groups came face to face again today, with the leftist group gathering to march to the building where the conference was taking place.
The group of nearly 2,000 students reportedly chanted pro-Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) slogans and accused the Islamist group of collaboration with Hizbullah. After the police intervened to prevent the march, the group tried to approach the building by crossing fields located near the campus. Diyarbakır Deputy Police Chief Süleyman Hançerli warned that his forces would intervene if the students tried to continue their march.
Police forces then deployed armored vehicles and helicopters, using tear gas fired from the air to disperse the demonstrators. Following the conference, the independent deputy from Van, Aysel Tuğluk, and Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Diyarbakır provincial chairman Zübeyde Zümrüt tried to convince the protesters to be escorted to the city center in buses.
Meanwhile, discussions between the police and the group continued, with a number of police officers throwing bottles and stones at the buses. One of the bottles reportedly hit Tuğluk as she was trying to convince the officers not to intervene.
The Diyarbakır police are said to have taken extraordinary measures in the city center this evening to prevent further incidents from taking place.