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Thousands celebrate Newroz in Diyarbakır

Women perform the folkloric dance Halay as they take part in the Kurdish celebration of Nowruz (aka Noruz or Newroz), the Persian calendar New Year, in Istanbul on March 21, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / YASIN AKGUL

Newroz, a festival marking the start of spring in many cultures, is being celebrated on Thursday in Diyarbakır, Turkey’s largest Kurdish-majority province.

The celebrations attracted thousands and also saw the attendance of families of Kurdish victims of government pressure, the Artı Gerçek news site reported. A large number of Kurdish activists and politicians have been on a hunger strike to protest a ban on outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan meeting with his lawyers in prison. 

Meanwhile, the wife of imprisoned Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş posted a message on Twitter celebrating Newroz and protesting the pressure on the Kurdish political movement. Başak Demirtaş shared the Kurdish hashtag #NewrozPirozBe,” adding that those who resist oppression have always won throughout history. 

Turkey has been cracking down the Kurdish political movement, particularly since the failure of the negotiations between the Turkish government and the PKK in the wake of July 2015 elections.

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