Turkish riot police unleashed tear gas to disperse a large crowd of demonstrators protesting violence against women in Istanbul, as well as the government’s withdrawal from an international treaty devoted to combating it.
The massive group of protesters, reportedly numbering in the thousands, marched to Istanbul’s Taksim Square on Thursday to mark the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.’ They met a heavy police presence in the square, which was barricaded off by officers clad in heavy riot gear, who proceeded to fire tear gas on the crowd after ordering it to disperse.
Video footage circulating online shows police confronting demonstrators and forcing them to leave.
Protesters were also seen carrying a colorful assortment of signs and banners, some even toting flares, while others chanted anti-government slogans and demanded an end to what’s been dubbed by some activists as ‘femicide.’ Some 345 women in Turkey have been killed in acts of gender-based violence so far this year, just shy of the 410 reported in 2020, according to ‘We Will Stop Femicide,’ a women’s rights group.
After the Turkish government withdrew in July from an international agreement to combat violence against women, the protest was also mirrored in smaller cities around the country. Known as the Istanbul Convention, the pact was originally negotiated in the same city in 2011, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s decision to pull out of the deal has been sharply criticized both by local activists as well as foreign leaders, with US President Joe Biden dubbing the move “deeply disappointing.”
Ankara claimed that the convention was invalid. “hijacked”By “people attempting to normalize homosexuality,”It said it was “incompatible with Turkey’s social and family values.”The government maintained that it wouldn’t “give up on its fight against domestic violence”And would “continue protecting the safety and the rights of all women.”
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