Turkish police detain dozens in women’s protest against dismissed Kurdish mayors

Turkish police on Saturday detained around 20 people during a women’s protest in Istanbul against the dismissal earlier this week of three Kurdish mayors in the country’s southeast.

Some 20 female protesters and a reporter with pro-Kurdish Özgür Gelecek newspaper were detained during the protest in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş district, after police intervened and formed a barricade around the group preparing to release a statement, left-wing news site Duvar reported.

Turkey on Monday replaced the Kurdish mayors of the southeastern cities of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Van with state officials and detained more than 400 people for suspected terror links, sparking protest in the region and Istanbul.

Police attacked the group chanting, “We will win by resistance”, “We are not scared, we don’t submit,” the site reported.

Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Serpil Kemalbay was among those detained, but released shortly thereafter, Duvar said.

Turkish security forces arrested dozens and used water cannons and truncheons to intervene in protests earlier this week against the sacking of the mayors in the southeast of the country. 

The ousting of the Kurdish mayors has triggered criticism from abroad, including from the EU and the Council of Europe.