BEIRUT

Middle East

Police tear gas hunger strike protesters in Istanbul

  • A protestor throws a fire bomb as he clashes with Turkish riot police during a protest in support of a hunger strike movement by Kurdish prisoners, on October 30, 2012, in Istanbul. AFP PHOTO/BULENT KILIC

ISTANBUL: Turkish police fired tear gas and water cannon at protesters in Istanbul staging a demonstration in support of a widespread hunger strike by Kurdish prisoners, an AFP photographer at the scene said.

Around 400 protesters were gathered outside the Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) building, chanting "Evacuate prisons" and "Freedom to inmates", when police fired the tear gas and water cannon without warning, the photographer said.

The group also shouted slogans in favour of the imprisoned leader of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) Abdullah Ocalan.

The Turkish government is under increasing pressure over how to tackle the hunger strike by around 700 Kurdish prisoners which is now in its 54th day.

The strike involves jailed politicians, mayors and parliamentarians, some of them senior figures in the BDP, which holds 29 of the 550 seats in the Turkish parliament, and also inmates accused of ties to the PKK.

The strikers are calling for the lifting of restrictions on the use of Kurdish language but their main demand is improved jail conditions for Ocalan, who is imprisoned on an island off Istanbul.

On Saturday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned hunger strikers against "blackmail" for the release of Ocalan, saying: "We will not release the terrorist chief just because you say so or resort to such an action."

 
Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here