Despite bans, women in Turkey take to the streets on March 8

Despite bans, women in Turkey take to the streets on March 8
A+ A-
Thousands of women gathered in Istanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakir to celebrate International Women's Day despite government bans and police blockade

Women in Turkey defied bans and took to the streets to celebrate International Women's Day and denounce government repression in several cities, including Istanbul, the capital Ankara, and the southeastern city of Diyarbakir.

In Istanbul, police used pepper spray to disperse a remaining group after two hours of peaceful protests in which women chanted "government resign."

8-mart-3.jpgProtesters held banners reading "We are angry, we mourn" for the more than 46,000 people who died in Turkey in buildings generally considered unsafe and for the hundreds of thousands left homeless by the Feb. 6 quake.

One banner read, "Control the contractors, not the women," referring to the contractors who are accused of ignoring building codes and contributing to the devastation.


"We are not silent, we are not afraid, we do not bow down," the protesters chanted as they pushed riot police shields, while the rest of the crowd dispersed. At least 10 protesters were detained, Turkish media reported.

The organizers had been banned - for the second year in a row - from marching along the busy Istiklal Avenue, where Women's Day rallies have been held since 2003. Police blocked the demonstrators' access to the avenue.

Local subway stations were also closed as of early afternoon.

8-mart-ankara.jpgIn Ankara, women gathered in central Kizilay Square, chanting slogans such as 'Renter state, we will destroy it', 'Long live women's solidarity' and 'Resign the government"

8-mart-diyarbakir.jpgIn the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, police rounded up two different groups of women and prevented them from gathering to celebrate Women's Day.