The Istanbul governor’s office on June 15 banned all demonstrations and protests until the end of the month as the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) initiated its two-track “Democracy March” to the capital Ankara.
The governor’s office said that the authorities will also ban protesters from entering and leaving the province during this two-week period. The governor’s office cited measures to stop the spread the novel coronavirus as well as threats to public security as the reason why this decision was taken.
“The press statements planned [in Istanbul] can be held only in the party buildings or with the participants whose number will not exceed 50, in line with social distancing measures,” said the statement released by the governor’s office.
The ban came as the HDP launched its Democracy March under heavy police presence and detentions. The party began its march from the northwestern province of Edirne and the southeastern province of Hakkari, which is expected to end in Ankara on June 20.
The march was kicked off after two HDP deputies and one main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker were stripped of their parliamentary statuses.
HDP deputies Leyla Güven and Musa Farisoğulları and CHP lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu were arrested on June 4 after losing their statuses. Güven and Berberoğlu were later released pending trial.