BDP official dies from gas bomb during Newroz ‘celebrations’

By bianet:

Hacı Zengin, Arnavutköy (Istanbul) District Chair of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), reportedly died during a police intervention against this year’s Newroz celebrations on Sunday (18 March). According to information from BDP Istanbul provincial executives, Zengin was wounded in the head by a gas bomb thrown by the police and died as a result of the injury.

BDP Co-Chair Gülten Kışanak announced on his Twitter account that Zengin passed away as the result of the attack.

BDP Deputy Co-Chair Filiz Koçali told bianet that Zengin died at his home.

Newroz celebrations

Thousands of people gathered in Istanbul and Diyarbakır to celebrate Newroz to mark the start of the Iranian new year as a custom of the Kurdish society.

Members of the Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) encountered the first intervention at around 10.00 in the morning when they were on their way to the Kazlıçeşme Square in Zeytinburnu (Istanbul).

The police intervened with water cannons and tear gas against approximately 400 people who gathered on the Topkapı Millet Avenue on Sunday morning. The tensions also spread into the side streets.

Children, juveniles and elderly people were in the streets wearing traditional costumes. Caught between police barricades and clashes they were trying to find their way out.

Many riot forces teams were positioned on the roads to the square and the Kazılçeşme Square, the centre of Newroz celebrations in Istanbul in previous years, was closed off with metal barricades.

The Istanbul Police Directorate announced the closure of several roads to traffic due to the Newroz celebrations starting from 7.30 in the morning.

The Topkapı station was not served by the tramway and the metrobus; the suburban train line was not running.

Even though permission had been denied this year by the Ministry of the Interior, many people followed the call of the BDP deputies to gather for the Newroz celebrations. At around midday, clashes occurred between the police and the people who wanted to celebrate on the coastal road close to Kazılçeşme. The police threw gas bombs at the crowd and the people reacted by throwing stones.


Diyarbakir - mass rally despite police violence

Diyarbakir - mass rally despite police violence

In Diyarbakır, a city in the pre-dominantly Kurdish region of south-eastern Turkey, about 1,500 people came together in front of the BDP office to go to the location of the celebration. People who wanted to reach the location from different districts encountered police interventions.

Riot team forces were deployed at important points of the city. Police helicopters observed the situation from the air. People who gathered in various districts came into conflict with the police. BDP deputies and mayors also came to the party office.

The 1,500 people in front of the BDP Diyarbakır provincial office waited for permission to walk the five kilometres to the Newroz celebration area. BDP executives negotiated with the security forces.

At 14.30 hrs, hundreds of thousands of people managed to break through the barricades and entered the Newroz area.

Photos – bianet

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