News ID: 137452
Published: 0921 GMT February 27, 2016

Turkish protesters condemn curfew in southeast

Turkish protesters condemn curfew in southeast

Thousands of demonstrators protested Saturday against a three-month military crackdown as well as a strict curfew in southeastern Turkey.

The protesters gathered in the Kosuyolu Park of the mainly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir to call for an end to the curfew, which has been in place in the central Sur District since December 2, 2015.

Authorities say the curfew is in place to help them root out militants of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) operating in the area. However, activists argue that clashes have led to the death of civilians and inflicted major damage to the district’s historic mosques and other buildings.

The demonstrators on Saturday also called for a 24-hour break in the curfew to rescue those still trapped in Sur.

The gathering, which was peaceful at first, turned violent when participants spread in different directions after hearing speeches from Kurdish leaders. Police fired water cannon and tear gas canisters to disperse the protesters.

Some demonstrators clashed with security forces by throwing stones and noise bombs. Police arrested at least 10 people.

One person, meanwhile, suffered serious injuries by gunfire in the clashes.

Ankara has been engaged in a large-scale campaign against the PKK in its southern border region in the past few months. The Turkish military has also been conducting offensives against the positions of the group in northern Iraq.

The operations began in the wake of a deadly July 2015 bombing in the southern Turkish town of Suruc. More than 30 people died in the attack, which the Turkish government blamed on the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group.

After the bombing, the PKK militants, who accuse the government in Ankara of supporting Daesh, engaged in a series of reprisal attacks against Turkish police and security forces, prompting the Turkish military operations.

The Turkish army says 237 "terrorists" have so far been killed in the curfew operation in Sur. However, activists cast heavy doubt on the figures.

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