Middle East

Thousands in Diyarbakir celebrate Nowruz amid tight security

ISTANBUL: Thousands of people have gathered in the mainly Kurdish of Diyarbakir to celebrate the Nowruz spring festival. Authorities made arrests in other parts of the country where the festivities were banned.

Celebrators in Diyarbakir carried portraits of Abdullah Ocalan, the jailed leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, and flags of a Kurdish faction in Syria that Ankara also considers a security threat.

Kurds in Turkey traditionally use Nowruz to assert their ethnic identity and demand greater rights but this year's celebrations come amid tightened security.

The celebrations were banned in Ankara and in Istanbul, where security forces rounded up 164 people, including 12 minors, ahead of the festivities, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.





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