Police intervene in Istanbul group gathered to denounce deaths of Yüksekova protesters
Riot police officers take cover as protesters shoot fireworks at them on the Tarlabaşı Boulevard in Taksim area, Istanbul, Dec. 7. AFP photoFresh tensions erupted in Istanbul’s Taksim area Dec. 7, after a protest to denounce the death of two demonstrators in the southeastern province of Hakkari.
A group of around 200 people had gathered in Galatasaray Square on the central İstiklal Avenue upon a call from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), a recently formed party that comprises Kurds and a number of small leftist parties.
The group dispersed peacefully after reading a press statement, in a protest that lasted just over 20 minutes. However, a group of police then chased some of the protesters in the adjacent streets, daily Hürriyet reported.
Police and protesters clashed on the busy nearby Tarlabaşı Avenue, with protesters reportedly firing fireworks at the police as they entered the Tarlabaşı neighborhood, downhill from Taksim. Police responded by firing tear gas, which reportedly affected drivers crossing Tarlabaşı Avenue.
Two men, Veysel İşbilir (34) and his nephew Mehmet Reşit İşbilir (32), died in Yüksekova after a protest against reports that graves belonging to members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had been vandalized.
Officials blamed the demonstrators, sharing footage allegedly showing them holding weapons. However, the deaths were slammed by opposition parties, who expressed serious concerns about the possible effect on the ongoing Kurdish peace process.