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Istanbul, March 9 – Turkish women have defied a ban on protests and staged an annual march called “Feminist Night March” in Istanbul’s Taksim Square to mark International Women’s Day.
Although the police allowed the protesters on Wednesday night to carry on with their march for a while, later they used tear gas to disperse them, reports the BBC.
Several people were also detained.
The women had gathered in the city’s Istiklal Street despite the ban imposed by the Beyoglu district governor’s office for all kinds of demonstrations and marches in the area, including the women’s day march.
Marking International Women’s Day, the main opposition Republican People’s Party earlier in the day released a report which said that more than 600 women had been killed in Turkey by men since 2021, when President Recep Tayyip Erdogan withdrew the country from the Istanbul Convention — a treaty that aimed to combat domestic violence.
In a statement titled “we are sorry, we are angry”, the march organiser criticised the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for failing to handle a range of crises and problems including ongoing economic deterioration, the coronavirus pandemic, the February 6 earthquakes that claimed more than 46,000 lives, and increasing racism and promoting LGBT+ hatred and patriarchy, reports the Turkish Minute news website.
It said that women are determined to continue their fight against patriarchy, homophobia, transphobia, exploitation of labour and capitalism.
The women at the march also chanted slogans calling on the government to resign.
“We are not going to be silent, we will not be intimidated, and we are not obeying you,” they said.
Every year, thousands of women gather in Taksim Square for the “Feminist Night March”, which marks the continuation of the world-famous “Reclaim the Night” movement, despite bans from authorities and police violence and detention.