Newroz fires lit in demonstrations across Turkey
Tens of thousand of people have gathered on Sunday for Newroz demonstrations in various cities of Turkey.
A huge rally was staged in the Kurdish-majority city of Van where people started flooding into the demonstration area in large groups in the morning despite foul weather.
Demonstrator chanted, in support for the imprisoned leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan, "Be serok jiyan nabe" ("There is no life without a leader"), "Biji Serok Apo" ("Long live Leader Apo"), and "Biji berxwedana Kobane" ("Long live Kobani resistance").
For the Kurdish people, Newroz, or "the new day," marks the arrival of the new year on the spring equinox, and in a more recent context, the day the fire of resistance against tyrants is rekindled. According to the legend, Kawa the Blacksmith killed tyrant king Dehak on this day, and the legend has been emblematic for the Kurdish freedom struggle in near history.
Newroz demonstrations in Istanbul began as a group of Peace Mothers, a women's peace and rights movement that promotes a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish Question, lit the Newroz fire.
This year's demonstration was dedicated to the victims of the earthquakes on 6 February, and a minute of silence for the victims was observed before the addresses.
Ferhat Encu, the branch co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), said in his address that the people's struggle cannot be stopped by arrests, oppression or banning, and that they will put an end to the government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its ally Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the coming elections.
Large demonstrations were staged in the Kurdish-majority cities of Batman, Bingol, Igdir, Kiziltepe, Siirt, Tatvan, Yuksekova, and in the southern cities of Antalya, Mersin, and in the western city of Izmir.
In Tatvan, HDP deputy Mahmut Celadet said in his speech:
"This fire will now burn not only for the Kurdish people but for all those who look forward to the future with hope. As long as Dehaks exist, there will always be revolutionary Kawas."
In Igdir, deputy Habib Eksik said:
"The fascist government of the AKP-MHP bloc abandoned our people to death under the rubble after the earthquake. We declare once again that we will deny them our blessings. This government is also an enemy of Kurds. They spent the country's resources on a war waged against the Kurdish people. We will change this government."
The demonstration in Dersim was organized with the motto "Her der Newroz, her dem azadi" ("Every Newroz, always for freedom") and was dedicated to the victims of the earthquake. Marching people chanted "Biji Newroz" (long live Newroz), "Biji berxwedana zindana" (Long live the prison resistance") and "Jin, jiyan, azadi" (Women, Life, Freedom"). The Newroz fire was lit at the end of the march.