Turkish police intervene in protests against gov’t removal of 3 Kurdish mayors

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PHOTO: Local media

Turkish police on Monday intervened with force in demonstrations in several cities protesting a government decision to remove the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van, according to Turkish media.

The Mardin Governor’s Office issued a ban on protests and demonstrations in the province for a month.

The reports said some protestors were briefly detained by the police, while others were dispersed by pepper spray and water cannon.

The Interior Ministry on Monday removed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van for alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US. The PKK has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast for more than three decades.

Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies attended protests in İstanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakır.

Protests were held in at least five cities.

All three mayors were elected with a majority of votes in the March 31 election. Diyarbakır Mayor Adnan Selcuk Mızraklı garnered 63 percent of the vote, while Mardin Mayor Ahmet Türk had 56 percent and Van mayor Bedia Özgökçe Ertan received 54 percent.

HDP Co-chairperson Sezai Temelli said in a statement that his party would not abandon the use of democratic means and would continue their fight for democracy.

“It is time to take the side of democracy and democratic politics. It is time to stand behind the will of the nation. Let’s stand side-by-side against this ignoble way of doing politics,” he said.

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