Over 200 detained in Istanbul following Newroz celebrations
More than 200 people were detained during Istanbul's Newroz celebrations, according to a statement by the Istanbul Governor's Office. The incident occurred after the crowd began chanting slogans and police intervened to disperse the gathering.
The Newroz celebration took place in Yenikapi Square in Istanbul, and after the event ended, the crowd began to disperse. However, police intervened and cordoned off the area, detaining more than 60 people at first. As the police continued to keep people within the cordon, they detained over 100 people, bringing the total number of people detained to 224.
The detentions have been criticized by some members of the opposition. Speaking to Bianet, HDP Istanbul deputy Zuleyha Gulum claimed that there were many violations of human rights during the Newroz celebrations. According to Gulum, citizens wearing traditional clothing were prevented from entering the area and were asked to change their clothes. When asked why, the police simply replied that they had been given instructions to do so.
Gulum also claimed that the police had refused to allow pictures of Selahattin Demirtas, a former HDP leader who is currently imprisoned, into the area. "All of these were excuses," Gulum said. "There was a strong turnout and the government saw that there was a lot of anger towards them, and they couldn't handle it. They intervened even though there was no reason to do so."
Gulum also claimed that after the Newroz celebrations had ended, a group of around 200-300 people were prevented from leaving the area. "The police had no reason to intervene, but they have made it a habit to make arrests during every Newroz celebration."