Istanbul police blockade Saturday Mothers' 965th protest, detain 25

Istanbul police blockade Saturday Mothers' 965th protest, detain 25
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Istanbul police blocked the Saturday Mothers' protest for their disappeared loved ones, barricading Istiklal Avenue completely and detaining 25, despite a Constitutional Court ruling against such bans.

In a recurring scene of unrest in Turkey, police in Istanbul have once again thwarted the weekly protest of the Saturday Mothers, a group of women and their supporters 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.

In their 965th weekly protest, the group tried to march to Galatasaray Square, but the police cited the Beyoglu Governorate's "ban" decision and did not allow the procession, erecting barricades at both entrances of İstiklal Avenue, one of Istanbul's most vibrant pedestrian-only routes, causing a standstill and blocking all foot traffic.

Eyewitnesses at the scene reported aggressive police measures. This oppressive action culminated in the detention of at least 25 demonstrators, Saturday mothers said in a statement by the Saturday Mothers.

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.