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74 minors among 298 detained during Nevruz celebrations in Diyarbakır: report

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Turkish police detained at least 298 people, including 74 minors, during Nevruz celebrations on Monday in southeastern Diyarbakır province, the Bianet news website reported, citing the Diyarbakır Bar Association.

The bar association criticized the “unlawful” holding of minors in detention and further urged officials to abandon “the practice that violates fundamental rights and freedoms” of young people.

Nevruz is celebrated by Kurds as the first day of spring. However, Nevruz celebrations have often been marked by heavy-handed police intervention.

On Monday Turkish security forces prevented Kurds dressed in their traditional clothing from attending the large celebration in Diyarbakır, Bianet quoted Okan Alptekin, a member of the Diyarbakır Bar Association’s LGBTQ rights center, as saying.

Alptekin also said members of the LGBTQ community faced discrimination during the celebration, from both law enforcement and homophobic groups in the crowd.

In 2017 a police officer fatally shot Kurdish university student Kemal Kurkut during Nevruz celebrations in Diyarbakır. Police found poetry books and clothing in Kurkut’s backpack after he was shot on suspicion that he was a “suicide bomber.”

Last year İstanbul police detained 14 people in the city celebration of Nevruz. Four people were detained for allegedly resisting police, while 10 were taken into custody on charges of disseminating “terrorist propaganda.”

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