30 Aug 2018

Turkish police breaks up mothers vigil 

Saturday was the 700th time women known as the Saturday Mothers gathered in one of world’s longest civil disobedience demonstrations. Turkish police launched a brutal crackdown. 

Ans Boersma
Ans Boersma NewsMavens, Turkey
Turkish police breaks up mothers vigil  - NewsMavens
Saturday Mothers. Turkey

Why this story matters:

Thousands of people had been expected at Saturday's protest. The police fired tear gas and plastic pellets to scatter the crowd and arrested up to 100 people, including a 82-year-old woman who was among the first to protest in 1995 in search of her son. Politicians showing solidarity were detained. 

The Saturday Mothers is a group of Kurdish women who gather every Saturday in central Istanbul for half an hour, holding photographs of their lost loved ones. They combine silent sit-ins with communal vigils as their method of protest against the forced disappearances and political murders in Turkey in the 80s and 90s.

This coming Saturday the Saturday mothers are planning to protest again. Amnesty International will join the mothers to show their support. Istanbul vigils must be allowed to take place, they declared. 

Details from the story:

  • At a news conference in Istanbul, the group denied links to any militant group and pointed out Erdogan, when he was prime minister in 2011, met them and pledged his support.
  • The sit-in by the so-called Saturday Mothers was one of the few remaining public protests near Istanbul’s Taksim square, once a vibrant demonstration ground but now off-limits for opposition groups.
  • Critics say that breaking up the vigil was another sign that Turkey is drifting into more authoritarian rule under President Tayyip Erdogan, adding to Ankara’s already deteriorating record on human rights and media freedoms.
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