Nevruz clashes erupt in five cities across Turkey

Nevruz clashes erupt in five cities across Turkey
Nevruz clashes erupt in five cities across Turkey

DHA photo

Clashes broke out between security forces and demonstrators who wanted celebrate Nevruz in Mersin, Batman, Şırnak, Van and Hakkari provinces today. 

Independent deputy Ahmet Türk was hospitalized after a bus he was in was hit by a smoke grenade thrown by the police in the southeastern Batman province. It was claimed he was punched by a police officer during the incidents in the city.

A remote controlled bomb was found by the police in the eastern Van province prior to demonstrations. The bomb was enhanced with  nails to increase damage to bystanders.

Clashes broke out in the southern province of Mersin when the city's governor did not allow demonstrators, backed by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), to hold celebrations at a pre-determined area. A hand-made bomb thrown by the protesters exploded in an empty lot during the clashes.

Police reinforcements were sent to Mersin from Ankara, Gaziantep, Kilis and Osmaniye provinces to take precautions in the neighborhoods where supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) often held demonstrations. A police helicopter was dispatched to support the security forces.

Police hit by long range weapon

There were clashes between the police and protesters in Hakkari's Yüksekova district in southeastern Turkey. District Governor Üzeyir Aziz Ören said two police officers were wounded when shots were fired with a long range weapon from a group of demonstrators. The police were trying to apprehend the person who fired the shots.

Streets of Batman province in the southeast "turned into a battlefield," Hürriyet reported, when demonstrators clashed with the police. Batman governor's office had stated it would not allow Nevruz celebrations to be held today and took precautions around the city's central bus terminal after BDP announced it would hold celebrations nevertheless. Police intervened several groups entering the area from separate locations. The protesters responded with noise bombs, fireworks, Molotov cocktails and stones. 

Celebrations held in İdil

Police surrounded the main staging area where Nevruz celebrations would be held in İdil district of the southeastern Şırnak province. Security forces allowed the people to gather at the designated area and left the scene after celebrations began. 

Turkey's Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin had said he would not allow Nevruz celebrations to be held on any day other than March 21. BDP had wanted to mark Nevruz on Sunday, when more participation could be attained, but clashes broke out in Istanbul and Diyarbakır when the security forces did not allow celebrations.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.