Lawmakers from the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) started “justice watches” in a number of southeastern provinces on Tuesday, July 25. HDP leaders said that the demonstrations will be held in Diyarbakir, Van, Izmir, and Istanbul. Media sources reported that ten HDP lawmakers gathered at a park in Diyarbakir under a heavy police presence. According to the HDP, the police had originally approved the demonstration but have subsequently blocked access to the rally. Rallies and other events are planned to take place until November 4. Expect increased security measures and localized traffic disruptions around the demonstrations.
November 4 is the one-year anniversary of the arrest of 11 HDP deputies by the government. The HDP is demanding that the government lift the current state of emergency and release the imprisoned party members.
Tensions have been simmering throughout Turkey since the implementation of a state of emergency on July 15, 2016. Critics of the emergency measures cite a heavy-handed crackdown on opposition elements across the country under the guise of national security. Over 50,000 people have been arrested under the state of emergency, including over 170 journalists and a dozen lawmakers. Over 140,000 public workers have been fired, including tens of thousands of civil servants, prosecutors, and teachers, and several thousand academics.
Individuals in Turkey should expect continuing heightened security measures, follow any instructions issued by the local authorities, and carry proper identification at all times (e.g. passport). Avoid all demonstrations or public gatherings.
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