A report released by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV) has revealed that at least 4,771 human rights violations took place during protests and demonstrations held in Turkey between 2015 and 2019.
According to the report released on Friday and titled “Closing the Street: Violations of Freedom of Assembly and Demonstration (2015-2019),” Turks faced at least 4,771 rights violations between 2015 and 2019 while they were exercising their freedom of assembly and demonstration.
While 141 people died in bomb attacks during protests and demonstrations in the five-year period, 19 more died as a result of interventions in such events by law enforcement, the report said.
A total of 4,450 people were subjected to physical violence by police during interventions in protests between 2015 and 2019, while 1,022 people were injured in bomb attacks during such gatherings, according to the report.
The TİHV further revealed that 20,071 people were detained, with 662 of them arrested for taking part in demonstrations and protests between 2015 and 2019. A total of 4,907 people were prosecuted; 999 were sentenced to a total of 13,370 months in prison; and 63 received fines totaling TL 268,235 ($31,200).
Among the charges most frequently pressed against people who attended civilian and political activities in Turkey, according to the report, are “insulting the president,” “resisting an officer,” “disseminating propaganda for an illegal organization,” “membership in an illegal organization” and “contravening Law No. 2911 on assemblies and demonstrations.”
The majority of the rights violations took place in Ankara, İstanbul and İzmir, mostly during protests against a massive government-led purge of more than 150,000 public servants from state institutions following a coup attempt on July 15, 2016 as well as the country’s years-long Kurdish problem.
Restricting or suspending the freedom of assembly and demonstration is a way to narrow the scope of democratic citizenship and to gradually destroy democracy in Turkey, TİHV said.