At least 200 protesters marched through the streets of Kadikoy on Wednesday to call for more democratic freedoms in the country.
The rally, called by the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), was held with a large police presence, with various units and armoured vehicles deployed in the demonstration area. Several residents appeared to be stopped and checked for further documents.
Earlier in June, two HDP deputies lost their parliamentary status while at least 23 HDP-affiliated mayors were jailed across the country.
HDP spokesperson Idil Ugurlu accused the government of being hypocritical, and played tribute to Osman Kavala, renowned philanthropist who has spent around a thousand days in jail on terrorism charges, after being re-arrested following his acquittal. Ugurlu also remembered Selahattin Demirtas, former leader of the HDP, who is currently facing charges of spreading propaganda against the Turkish state. He has been imprisoned since 2016.
«You say you hate discrimination but later you turn the folks into an enemy to avoid the arrival of peace. In order to make freedom, democracy and justice arrive at this country we are against MHP [Nationalist Movement Party], AKP [Justice and Development Party] and this union,» she said.
The MHP and AKP are extreme-right political groups.
The protest movement has begun from opposite ends of the country, the Edirne province in the north-west and Hakkari province in the south-east. It is planned to gradually advance to converge at a large-scale demonstration, expected in Ankara on June 20.