Nevruz festivites start in Turkish cities

Nevruz festivites start in Turkish cities

ISTANBUL - HDN with wires
Nevruz festivites start in Turkish cities

Nevruz celebrations in Istanbul on March.17. DHA photo

Thousands flocked to set locations nationwide to join in Nevruz celebrations and festivities on March 17, with large crowds gathering under strong security measures in squares and minor clashes occurring in İzmit and Erzurum.

Festivities kicked off mostly around noon with Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) officials attending and organizing the events in Istanbul and İzmir. Thousands gathered in squares to celebrate in the presence of a large number of security officials monitoring the events.

Slogans supporting the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were heard from time to time among the participants of the İzmir event, as opposing voices were heard in Cumhuriyet Square from small groups gathered to protest the events.

Around 30 people were detained when violence broke out between BDP supporters and Kocaeli football fans heading to a local football match at İzmit’s İsmetpaşa Stadium. The football fans were on their way to the game when pro-Öcalan slogans were heard from the crowd, to which they responded by gathering and attempting to march toward the group.

Clashes occurred during celebrations in Erzurum as police forces used pepper spray to disperse crowds marching to halt the events.

Minor scuffles also erupted in Antalya, where one person was taken in custody following police intervention on a group marching towards a BDP crowd.

Around 6,000 police officers were on duty for Nevruz, with around 400 more called in from nearby cities. Some 400 police officers were flown in to Istanbul as well from Trabzon, Rize and Gümüşhane, in addition to those already posted in the city, and 300 officers that serve at Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport were also relocated in accordance with the planned festivities.