Wave of arrests follow stormy Nevruz protests

Wave of arrests follow stormy Nevruz protests

ISTANBUL-Hürriyet Daily News
Police sent 57 detainees to court yesterday in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district in connection with their involvement in banned Nevruz celebrations on March 18 amid a wave of detentions and arrests across Turkey stemming from the holiday.

Some 135 suspects were taken into custody in connection with banned Nevruz demonstrations in Istanbul; the final batch of 57 detainees were transferred to court yesterday. Nine of the 51 suspects who were transferred to court March 21 had already been placed under arrest, according to Doğan news agency.

Another five people who stand accused of throwing rocks at security forces after the Nevruz celebrations and making propaganda on behalf of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the southeastern province of Siirt were also detained by police yesterday.

Four suspects who were caught by law enforcement officials after a chase through the backstreets in the southeastern province of Mardin were also detained yesterday. The suspects were involved in pro-PKK demonstrations that lasted through the night of March 21 after the Nevruz demonstrations, according to reports.

Three more suspects were also transferred to court March 21 in Mardin after they testified to the prosecutor. A 16-year-old suspect was then arrested on charges of “violating the law of assembly and demonstration,” while the remaining two suspects were released pending trial, according to Anatolia news agency.

Meanwhile, another 14 suspects who were detained in police operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) were transferred to court in the eastern province of Van yesterday.

Nine suspects were consequently released, while the remaining five were transferred to another court with a demand that they be arrested. One suspect was arrested while the other four were released pending trial after they testified to a prosecutor.

The KCK is the alleged urban wing of the outlawed PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist group by the United States, the European Union and Turkey.