Police disperse groups marking first anniversary of Ankara attack

Police disperse groups marking first anniversary of Ankara attack

Police disperse groups marking first anniversary of Ankara attack

AFP photo

Police have dispersed groups seeking to commemorate the first anniversary of the Oct. 10, 2015, Ankara bombing, detaining dozens of people.

The commemoration organized by relatives of the deceased, NGOs and political parties was obstructed due to tight police measures, as the Ankara Governor’s Office permitted only close relatives, select political leaders and a limited number of representatives of civil organizations to enter the designated area where the bombings occurred.

A year has passed since one of the deadliest attacks in Turkish history which took 103 lives and left more than 500 people with injuries. At 10:04 a.m. on Oct. 10, 2015, two explosions rocked the Labor, Peace and Democracy meeting organized by the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), union confederations, chambers, medical associations, political parties and groups as they were rallying outside the Ankara Train Station to demand peace in Southeast Turkey. Later, the perpetrators of the suicide bombings were announced to be members of the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). 

Relatives and friends of the affected people and representatives of political parties, NGOs and civil society sought to commemorate the victims even though the Ankara Police Department banned all meetings and demonstrations in Ankara, particularly around the train station, permitting only a small number of representatives to perform a symbolic commemoration.

“Of course our citizens would like to commemorate the pain. In order to provide that, we allowed symbolic commemorations to be performed with small groups of relatives of the martyrs and those who would like to remember. Apart from that, no program will be permitted,” Ankara Gov. Ercan Topaca said in a small speech at a ceremony in front of the train station as police forced away much larger crowds attempting to arrive to pay their respects.

“We hope this grieving will end as soon as possible. We condemned the attack that happened at the train station as well as all terrorist attacks that happened in other parts of our country irrespective of the origin, perpetrators and abettors,” he said.

Close relatives of the deceased parties, parliamentary representatives from Republican People’s Party (CHP) and HDP, representatives of NGOs and political groups marched to the train station from several close destinations like Opera, Baruthane, Kazım Karabekir streets. 

Police dispersed the groups with tear gas and water cannon to prevent any commemoration, while officers also dispersed people in other areas of the city as they sought to regroup and mark the event. 

At least 60 people were detained in the police actions in the city center, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.