Despite COVID-19 lockdown, hundreds gather in Konya to protest Al-Aqsa attacks

Hundreds of people in Turkey's Konya have defied the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown and gathered at the Mevlana Square in protest of Israel's attack on Palestinians in the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Duvar English

In a complete dismissal of the COVID-19 lockdown, hundreds of people on May 10 gathered in the Central Anatolian province of Konya to protest Israel's attacks on worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The protest was organized upon the call of the Konya Non-Governmental Organizations Platform under the name of “Support for Palestine Rally.” The platform urged citizens to attend the rally following the afternoon prayers.

Hundreds of protestors gathered at the Mevlana Square, carrying Turkish and Palestinian flags and shouting slogans in condemnation of Israel. They were seen flouting the social distancing rules.

The Konya Governor's Office released a written statement with regards to the rally, refuting the claim that it had authorized the platform to organize such an event.

It said that although it respected citizens' reaction in the face of the Israeli police's attacks, “mass meetings are subject to the restrictions as they constitute a serious risk for citizens' health.”

At the site of the protest, police officers warned the citizens to comply with the social distancing guidelines, whereas the deputy governor urged them to vacate the area.

Turkey on April 29 started a strict 17-day-long lockdown amid a surge in COVID-19 infections. It is the country’s most severe lockdown since the onset of the COVID pandemic, with schools closing and only essential businesses like food shops being allowed to remain open.