Turkish police detain demonstrators at peaceful Saturday Mothers gathering
Police in Istanbul once again intervened against a peaceful demonstration of Saturday Mothers, a group of women who have been gathering at Galatasaray Square since 1995 to demand justice and accountability for their children who were victims of forced disappearances in the 1980s and 1990s in Turkey.
The mothers and their supporters proceeded to Istiklal Avenue to to gather for their 952nd week of protest in Galatasaray Square, but despite the "violations" rulings of the Constitutional Court (AYM), the police blockade rounded up the group members and detained all the demonstrators.
“We were detained once again,” the official Twitter account of Saturday Mothers said. “After our detention, the deputies who came to support us were blockaded, beaten, and our journalist friends who were watching our meeting were beaten.”
#CumartesiAnneleri952Hafta’da bir kez daha gözaltına alındık. Gözaltına alınmamızın ardından bize desteğe gelen milletvekilleri ablukaya alındı, darp edildi, buluşmamızı izleyen gazeteci dostlarımız darp edildi. pic.twitter.com/K9k1ZM2oVx— Cumartesi Anneleri (@CmrtesiAnneleri) June 24, 2023
The incident resulted in the arrest of numerous individuals and once again highlighted the ongoing struggle for accountability in cases of enforced disappearances.
Despite a decision by Turkey's Constitutional Court (AYM) in 2019 that declared the government's ban on demonstrations in Galatasaray Square as a violation of freedom of assembly, police have continued to impose a blockade around the area, preventing the Saturday Mothers from holding their weekly vigil.
Since the first week of April, the Saturday Mothers have attempted to resume their weekly gatherings in Galatasaray Square every Saturday, but the police, who do not recognize the AYM's ruling on the violation of rights, have intervened and arrested them every week.