The six-party bloc takes the stage in Istanbul
Thousands of people gathered in Istanbul on Sunday for the first election rally of the Labor and Freedom Alliance, a bloc of six parties.
The police set check points on the routes from subway stations to the demonstration area, with armored water cannon trucks and detainee transfer vehicles parked on the way.
In her address to the crowd, the co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Pervin Buldan said that they have "gathered in Istanbul, the beautiful city of democracy, to say stop to the AKP-MHP regime who try to turn the city into the seat of darkness."
Commemorating revolutionaries Mahir Cayan, Ibrahim Kaypakkaya, Mazlum Dogan, Kurdish writer and intellectual Musa Anter who was killed in an extrajudicial execution in 1992, and Berkin Elvan who was fatally shot by the police during 2013 Gezi protests, Buldan stressed that the voters will choose in the coming elections "between the light and the dark, between democracy and fascism."
She promised that they will reinstate the human rights treaty Istanbul Convention, which had been declared invalid by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar said:
"We are coming for change. We will make sure that the struggle grows in all spheres of life in the course of the election campaign. We will broaden this alliance, make it pivotal for democracy. This alliance has set off for democracy."
Ercument Akdeniz, the chair of the Labor Party (EMEP) that is part of the bloc, called for a broader election alliance for the sake of democracy, saying:
"The officials of the government plan to implement the same policy in Istanbul that they earlier did elsewhere by replacing elected HDP mayors with appointed trustees. This siege on Istanbul cannot be broken without the support of the Labor and Freedom Alliance, without Diyarbakir's support. Let us unite and make this country free. It is we ourselves, all of us in solidarity, that will dispose of this one man rule, this mafia order.
Spokeswoman for the Social Freedom Party (TOP) Juliana Gozen said that a government who has waged a war against the people and who acts in alliance with the mafia and gangs tries to equate itself with the law, and dares talk about banning HDP.
Addressing government officials, she said:
"The people have not submitted to you in your 20 years of power, do you think it will now?"