Demonstrations protesting at the prison conditions imposed on Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan continued and increased today. There were demonstrations in Diyarbakır, Batman, İstanbul, Hakkari and Mardin amongst other places. In many areas stores did not open for business and police intervention was very harsh. University student Aydın Erdem was massacred by police, hundreds of people were wounded and 260 were arrested in Diyarbakır.
Kurds were protesting for their Leader Abdullah Öcalan again today. They voiced their deep feelings of concern for Öcalan in nearly all the cities of Kurdistan. There was an air of uprising in Amed, the heart of Kurdistan. However, there was bloodshed in this city following Prime Minister Erdoğan’s statement, made while ‘fleeing’ to the USA, which targeted the DTP and Kurds. In the wake of these threats by Erdoğan, the police attacked demonstrators including women and children without restraint and killed 23 year old Aydın Erdem by shooting him in the back.
Tension had risen in Kurdistan following Prime Minister Erdoğan saying ‘we will start from scratch’ after the Peace Groups had been greeted by millions of Kurds on 19th October. Then Erdoğan made statements that supported the lynching of DTP members. This was followed by Erdoğan intensifying Öcalan’s prison conditions and then finally his pointing out Kurds and DTP members as targets. Not a day had gone by following these words without Kurdish youth being shot at in Amed by police. Shooting at unarmed protesters from behind, the police massacred 23 year old Aydın Erdem and arrested the eye-witness of the incident. Erdem’s autopsy confirmed that he had been killed by a bullet fired at close range. Erdem who was a 3rd year Mathematics student at Dicle University was buried in the Çınaraltı village of Mardin’s Mehsert town. Taking orders from Erdoğan, the police’s hostile response was a clear indication of what was to come.
Tensions rose as police and military helicopters flew constantly over the Amed protests. Police who could not tolerate Amed’s defence of Öcalan attacked the demonstrators savagely. Clashes occurred in the side streets in response to the gas bombs and compressed water fired into the crowds by police. In retaliation demonstrators attacked the AKP county headquarters with molotov cocktails. Police then used their guns to retaliate. With orders from Erdoğan, the police force turned Amed into a war zone. Members of Parliament were also targeted in random attacks by police.
In Batman the public poured into the streets with their representatives, the DTP MPs, to protest against the prison conditions of Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan. 80 percent of stores were shut in the city as a reaction and the Kurdish public marched shouting the slogan: ‘‘We regard any injury to Öcalan as an injury to us.’’ The crowd wanted to march to the DTP county headquarters but a barricade was erected in front of the Farabi Hospital to prevent them. The sit-in to overcome the barricade was not successful and it was not long before the mounting tension turned into street clashes. When the crowd on Amed street began marching the police attacked them using gas bombs. The police were so reckless that they did not even consider the presence of Members of Parliament.
The most heavily attended demonstration in Kızıltepe, which has been protesting for days, occurred today. The crowd, together with DTP MPs, told the Turkish state; ‘‘the attempt to oppress the will of the Kurdish people will not pay off.’’ The actions and imposition placed on Abdullah Öcalan, and the case to shut-down the DTP were assessed as being attempts to oppress and stifle the will and freedom of the Kurdish people. It was emphasised that these plans would not succeed. After the meeting the crowd wanted to organise a march to continue their reaction, but the police were out in force again. It was gas bombs and compressed water against stones in the ensuing clashes. Also stores were shut in Mardin’s Nusaybin province.
Police who were given authorisation by Prime Minister Erdoğan also showed their hostility in Siirt. Many were wounded as police, who had blockaded the city days before, attacked the people with gas bombs. In a speech he made in Siirt, DTP MP Osman Özçelik criticised the hypocritical policies of the AKP government. Özçelik said that the AKP’s hypocritical policies had become evident with the practices in Imralı and warned of an internal war. Following the speech the crowd began marching and shouting slogans in support of Öcalan. 20 people were wounded and many taken into custody in ensuing clashes between youths and police.
Thousands of people also marched in the Kurtalan town of Siirt. The crowd held up banners which read, ‘either freedom for our leader and identity or resistance and vengeance forever,’ ‘the approach to Öcalan is the approach to peace,’ and chanted the slogans, ‘long live leader Apo,’ ‘greetings greetings a thousand greetings to Imralı,’ ‘the PKK is the people, the people are here,’ as they walked from the DTP county headquarters to the Kurtalan Municipality clock tower.
Store owners in the Şakirpaşa district of Adana’s Seyhan town did not open their stores in protest. A group of youths formed a barricade in the Tuesday Bazaar Street and fought with police. The clashes spread following the intervention of police with gas bombs and panzers. The group used fireworks, molotov cocktails and stones against the police and constantly shouted the slogans, ‘long live leader Apo,’ ‘there is no life without our leader’ and ‘Öcalan.’
Hundreds of people lit a fire in Viranşehir and blocked roads. The group then marched towards the market centre shouting slogans in support of Öcalan. Police tried to prevent the group from entering the market centre by using pepper gas and barricading Karacadağ Street with panzers. Protestor responded by throwing stones, fireworks and molotov cocktails at the police and formed a barricade with dustbin containers, bricks and stones. Clashes continued for nearly two hours as six people were detained.
Clashes between youths and police in the Cudi and Yenişehir districts of Silopi resulted in police car running over 5 year old Yasemin Yakaemir. The little girl was wounded in the incident and was taken first to Silopi State Hospital and then transferred to Cizre State Hospital.
Tradesmen closed their stores in the Doğubeyazıt town of Ağrı to protest the detainment of 28 people in yesterday’s demonstrations. 28 people were taken into custody yesterday in demonstrations against the worsening in Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan’s prison conditions. Ağrı governer Mehmet Çetin organised a press conference at his headquarters to make statements regarding the events of the past week. Çetin invoked that of the 74 people detained, 42 were children; he went on to say, ‘I could hardly stop myself from crying.’
In Hakkari demonstrators marched with posters of Öcalan. Police intervened by throwing gas bombs and firing warning shots. Demonstrators threw stones in response to the intervention, resulting in clashes. In Şemdinli the crowd began marching following the visit of the Maxmur and Kandil Peace Groups, upon police intervention, events spread to the whole of the town. It was indicated that plain clothes police officers arrived at the scene in a truck and attacked demonstrators with batons and wooden planks and that some protestors were thrown off the bridge at the town entrance. 12 people have been taken into custody so far.
The DTP Küçükçekmece headquarters was attacked by an armed group who fired at the building and broke windows. The assailants shouted insulting slogans at Kurds and then left the scene of the crime. Indicating that the assailants had fired many rounds at the building, eyewitnesses said that they had shouted, ‘Exterminate these whores. Don’t let Kurds live’ and left the place leaving behind them many shell cases. Police have yet to visit the scene of the crime.
On the other hand protestors who were detained in the Ümraniye Esenşehir demonstration did not fit into the police station. 15 people were detained following police intervention in the Bağcılar Yenikapı Square demonstration. A child was beaten and detained following the march in Gaziosmanpaşa Karayolları district. Also 9 people were taken into custody after police attacked demonstrations in Istanbul’s Sancaktepe, Küçükçekmece, Ataşehir, Gaziosmanpaşa and Sultangazi towns.
Hundreds of people came together in the Şevket Sümer, Güneş and Yenipazar districts of Mersin’s Akdeniz town following DTP’s meeting, but police attacked the crowd. The police’s intervention was met with stones and molotov cocktails thrown by youths.
11 out of 14 people detained in house raids conducted by the Izmir Anti-Terror Branch were arrested and sent to Kırıklar F Type prison for ‘being members of an illegal organisation,’ ‘taking part in an unauthorised demonstration,’ and ‘damaging public property.’
Students of the Maxmur camp continued their 3 day sit-in in front of the United Nations to show their loyalty to Abdullah Öcalan. The parents of hundreds of students also supported their children by joining in. The students demanded that the CPT urgently send a delegation to Imralı and that Imralı be shut down immediately.
The fury in Kurdistan and Turkey spills over into Europe. Kurds protesting the death threats against Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan were on the streets in Europe. 500 people came together in Berlin. In a manner similar to their Turkish counterparts, German police attacked demonstrators who were shouting, ‘long live leader Apo.’ 1500 people marched in Dortmund where they faced constant provocations by people brandishing Turkish flags. Many young people were arrested when police attacked demonstrators. Racist Turks attempted to provoke Kurdish demonstrators in Cologne as well. There were also marches and demonstrations in other areas of Germany, such as Hamburg, Münster, Saarbrüken and Hannover. Police attacked demonstrators on many occasions during these marches. The joint message in these marches was the claiming of and solidarity with the Kurdish People’s Leader.
Kurds said ‘no’ to the Imralı Death Pit in demonstrations all over Europe. Thousands of Kurds came together in France, Italy, Belgium, England, Austria and the Scandinavian countries. In France, Italy and Belgium thousands of Kurds protested the Imralı Death Pit and warned the AKP not to ‘try their patience.’ Kurds all around Europe organised 3 day hunger strikes and sit-ins in front of Parliaments to condemn the conditions in Imralı and to demand that the CPT send a delegation to Imralı.