Large crowds gather in Diyarbakir to celebrate Newroz

A+ A-
Massive crowds gathered in Diyarbakir's Newroz Park to celebrate the Kurdish new year and pay tribute to victims of recent earthquakes

The people flooded the Newroz Park in Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakir for the final celebration of the 2023 Newroz, dedicated to the victims of the massive earthquakes that hit Turkey on Feb. 6.

Newroz, also known as the Kurdish New Year, is an important day for Kurds in Turkey to express their solidarity in their struggle for greater cultural and political rights and to celebrate their identity and heritage, but in the past it has often been banned or severely restricted.

The event in Diyarbakir, widely covered by both local and international journalists, began with a moment of silence to pay respects to the deceased.

The enormous stage was adorned with black banners, on which was written "Newroz pîroz be" (Happy Newroz).

The square was also adorned with a poster of Iranian Kurdish activist Jina Emini, who was killed by the regime forces, with the inscription "Bi tayê porê Jîna Emînî, em ê tekoşîna jinê bilintir bikin" (With the blood of Jîna Emînî, we will strengthen the women's struggle.)

A big poster of Kemal Kurkut, who was killed by the police during the 2017 Diyarbakir Newroz was also visible.

The organizers completed the decorations of the square with over 10,000 flags and party banners, while six tons of wood were prepared for the Newroz fire. Despite the heavy police presence, the atmosphere was lively and joyous, with young people in abundance.

The square was filled with other banners such as "Şîna me sedema tekoşîna me ye" (Our mourning is the reason for our struggle), "Newroz cejna azadiyê ye" (Newroz is the festival of freedom) and "Gençlik Newroz'un sönmeyen ateşidir" (The youth are the unquenchable fire of Newroz) ue to the large turnout, the authorities placed a large number of police officers, TOMA vehicles, and armored cars in and around the area. For the first time, they also erected wire fences to separate the stage and the crowd.

This year, the security officials also forbade entry to those wearing traditional Kurdish clothes.

All roads leading to the Newroz Park were closed, and police barriers were set up around the square.