The branch office of the Human Rights Association (IHD) in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır released a report detailing the incidents of police violence, official repression and rights violations that took place during the Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) "Democratic Resistance for Freedom" rally over the weekened.
The Diyarbakır Governor's Office had formally banned the demonstration on the grounds the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) would engage in armed acts of provocation during the meeting.
Highlights from the report:
*The banning of the demonstration constituted a major obstacle before the freedom of thought and speech.
*Police officers toured across the city with their vehicles on the evening of July 13, a day before the demonstration, urged locals not to attend the demonstration via loud speakers and told them that legal proceedings would follow if they failed to comply.
*Law enforcement officials took some six people under custody during raids they conducted into certain homes prior to the demonstration. They also insulted household members during the process and subjected them to violence.
*Measures on par with martial order came into force, while law enforcement officials blocked the roads. Observers also noted that law enforcement officials detained certain individuals after conducting background checks, withheld others without detaining them, stopped groups of people travelling in each others' company and inquired why they were travelling together and employed violence toward those who opposed such measures.
*Officials withheld a street vendor along with his tools of trade and the "pushi" (traditional scarf with a checkers design,) the pennants and the colored scarves he was trying to sell.
*Police officers dispersed locals gathered for purposes of recreation in the Koşuyolu Park that is located in one of the city's busiest quarters, took them out of the area and sealed off the park to any visitors.
Officials stop visitors from out of town
The report further detailed the various attempts by law enforcement officials to stop those wishing to visit Diyarbakır from other provinces in the area:
*Police officials impounded the vehicles used by Abdullah Öcalan's elder sister Fatma Öcalan and others in her company and prevented them from travelling to Diyarbakır.
*Police officials seized a car used by Sadık Demir, the head of Genel - İş in the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK/Genel-İş) in the southeaster province of Şanlıurfa. Officials seized his vehicle during his journey to Diyarbakır on the grounds that legal documents pertaining to the car were missing.
*Officials stopped large numbers of people who left the district of Suruç in Şanlıurfa for Diyarbakır at checkpoints over the provincial border. Police officers insulted and threatened the locals, employed violence toward them and impounded their vehicles, according to allegations.
*Officials stopped individuals travelling from the district of Nizip in the southeastern province of Gaziantep toward Diyarbakır at the checkpoint in Şanlıurfa, searched them and refused to let them through. Reports indicate they also levied hefty fines on vehicle owners and took four people under custody.
*Other citizens on their way to Diyarbakır from the southern provinces of Adana and Mersin also encountered the police at the checkpoint in Şanlıurfa and were consequently denied passage by them.
*Police impounded the vehicles of citizens destined for Diyarbakır from the eastern province of Adıyaman before they could even exit their province.
*Officials stopped certain vehicles destined for the rally at Diyarbakır from the southeastern province of Batman and did not let them through. Police also stopped a train that arrived in Diyarbakır from Batman, led the passengers out of the train at the city's entrance and did not let them pass into the downtown area.
*Officials stopped citizens moving toward the downtown area from Diyarbakır's Bismil district at Sabri Petrol that is located at the entrance to the city center and did not allow their vehicles through.
*Police stopped individuals who hit the roads early in the morning to partake in the rally at the provincial border in the southeastern city of Şırnak.
*Law enforcement officials halted convoys of people who set off from Şırnak's Cizre district at the Düzova military checkpoint and did not let them through.
*Army officials stopped large numbers of citizens attempting to cross into Diyarbakır from Şırnak's Silopi district at the Petroleum Pipeline Corporation (BOTAŞ) checkpoint and prevented them from going any further.
*Police officials also stopped people who hit the roads from Şırnak's İdil district to attend the rally in Diyarbakır at the provincial border.
Clashes, police intervention and gas bombs
*Law enforcement officials intervened against BDP members and other protesters at 10 separate locations.
*Law enforcement officials hurled gas bombs that landed on homes, offices and vehicles. One vehicle located on a street in Gevran Avenue burned down to ashes after a gas bomb entered inside the vehicle from its rear window. The media reported, however, that it was the demonstrators who had torched the vehicle, despite the fact that it was a gas bomb thrown by the police.
*Police officials threw a gas bomb over people sitting in cafes on the Sanat Street, battered youngsters on the street and inside a mosque and detained them.
*Police officials harried a group of protesters including BDP deputies Ayla Akat Ata, Sırrı Sakık and İdris Baluken, as they were attempting to enter the area from the district of Sur. Deputy Ata was injured in consequence.
*Police officials harried a group of demonstrators that included Aysel Tuğluk, the co-chair of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK,) and BDP deputies Selahattin Demirtaş, Gültan Kışanak, Ertuğrul Kürkçü and Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir.
*The police first trampled upon a youngster, tore off his clothes, handcuffed him from his back and slammed him against the wall of a mosque and landed repeated blows on his naked back with truncheons, according to footages released by the Dicle news agency (DİHA.)
*Officials took an individual under custody after he was injured by a gas bomb that landed on his head, following an intervention by law enforcement officials with gas bombs and pressurized water in the city's Ofis quarters.
*Police officers detained five people who were passing by the local police station at the city's Ofis quarters with a car.
*Police officials stopped an ambulance carrying the injured to the hospital and attempted to detain them. Our inspections at the State Hospital have revealed that the police detained the majority of the injured after they received their treatment.
*Authorities took 87 people under custody during the incidents that broke out across the city of Diyarbakır, according to a statement by the Diyarbakır Governor's Office.
*Pervin Buldan, the BDP's Group Deputy President and its deputy from the eastern province of Iğdır, was heavily wounded after a gas bomb thrown by the police landed on her foot while she was entering the İstasyon Square.
*The BDP's Group Deputy President and its Batman deputy Ayla Akat Ata was also injured while she was on her way from the district of Sur to the demonstration when an armored police vehicle fired straight into her eye with a pressurized water cannon.
*Mülkiye Birtane, the BDP's deputy from the northeastern province of Kars, Zübeyde Zümrüt, the BDP's Diyarbakır Provincial Head, and Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir were also injured due to police violence.
*Undercover police beat up Remzi Akkaya after they took him to the police room from the emergency unit where he had been placed under clinical observation due to the injuries he had suffered. The statements of the undercover police themselves and witness reports from the hospital have also confirmed the incident.
*[We were able to] reach the names of 54 civilian individuals who registered at the State Hospital due to the injuries they suffered. The governor's office, on the other hand, claimed 76 people were injured during the event, 23 of them being police officers. Our impressions and observations, however, indicate that the number could be a lot higher, as many citizens chose not to register at the hospital for fear they could also be detained. (ÇT)