Turkish police fire rubber bullets to break up Women’s Day rally

 07 Mar 2016 - 0:00

Turkish police fire rubber bullets to break up Women’s Day rally
 A handout picture released by the Zaman Daily News shows Turkish riot police raid Zaman newspaper building as they disperse supporters of Fethullah Gulen Movement protest outside of Zaman newspaper as Turkish Police try to get inside for taking over the control, in Istanbul, Turkey, 04 March 2016. The Turkish government will take control of Zaman, the largest opposition newspaper in the country, state-run Anadolu news agency reported on 04 March 2016 citing a court order. Under the order, a state appointed trusteeship will run the paper, which has editions in several languages, including Turkish and English. The staff of the Zaman newspapers in Turkey are preparing what they expect to be their final edition before government-appointed trustees take over the opposition media outlet. Zaman, which according to its own numbers averaged last year 850,000 print copies a day, is accused of being part of the network of Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher based in the US. Via EPA

 

ISTANBUL: Turkish police on Sunday briefly detained at least one woman and fired rubber bullets to disperse a crowd of hundreds of people trying to mark International Women’s Day in central Istanbul.

The group, which gathered two days before official Women’s Day commemorations on March 8 in order to draw more supporters on a Sunday, had ignored a ban on the march by the Istanbul governor who scrapped this year’s rally, citing security concerns.

They were seeking to draw attention to women’s issues in Turkey, which ranks 77th out of 138 countries on a United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) index of gender equality.

The government frequently faces criticism for its handling of women’s issues, including the failure to stem high rates of violence and low female participation in the workforce.

Violence committed by domestic partners is 10 times more likely in Turkey, which aspires to join the European Union, than in other European countries, according to the U.N.

Hundreds of women filled the square in the Kadikoy district on the Asian side of Istanbul chanting slogans and carrying purple banners, the hallmark of a movement centred on women’s social and economic issues.

Plainclothes police began shoving members of the group, and many women fled the square when riot police fired rubber bullets into the crowd.

“We have always said that we would never leave the streets for the March 8 demonstration, and we never will. Neither the police nor the government can stop us,” protestor Guris Ozen told Reuters before the crackdown.

“You see the power of women. We are here despite every obstacle and we will continue to fight for our cause.”

Skirmishes also broke out during demonstrations in the capital Ankara, where dozens of women took to the streets.

Turkey has sharply limited the right to peaceful assembly in recent years, giving police wider powers to detain protesters and the courts more power to prosecute them.

(Reporting by Melih Aslan and Mehmet Emin Caliskan; Writing by Ayla Jean Yackley and Yesim Dikmen; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

Reuters