The Turkish police on July 29 once again thwarted the Saturday Mothers' vigil in Istanbul's Galatasaray Square, where they had been demanding information about their relatives who disappeared under custody since 1995.
The police detained 50 human rights defenders and they were later released during the day after hours in custody.
The Constitutional Court (AYM) on Feb. 23 ruled that the ban on the 700th-week gathering of the Saturday Mothers and the police intervention against it was a “violation of the right to organize meetings and demonstrations.” The top court stated, "The group's desire to hold a sit-in and a press statement with the aim of finding their disappeared relatives and raising public awareness must be met with respect in a democratic society."
Every Saturday since the top court’s ruling, Saturday Mothers have been trying to make a press statement by leaving carnations at Galatasaray Square and have been detained by the police.
The mothers and their supporters who wanted to reach the square through side streets were blockaded at noon, and journalists following the protest were prevented from filming. The police also closed Istanbul’s famous İstiklal Street in both directions. Police detained The human rights defenders in rear-handcuffs while battering them.
The police also blockaded Labor Party (EMEP) MP İskender Bayhan from issuing a statement in the square in support of the mothers.
Human Rights Association (İHD) Co-Chair Eren Keskin reacted to the police’s treatment and said, "We think the AYM's decision is valid as it is the highest court (in the country). A district governor’s decision is not above the top court’s ruling. So if there is a rule of law, the district governor’s office cannot ban our gathering. We just want the law to be followed."
Hanife Yıldız, mother of Murat Yıldız who was disappeared in detention, reacted to the police who prevented them, "How can they tear my child's photo? How can they throw the carnation in my hand on the ground?"
The group held the banned press statement at the İHD building and stated, “Public officials continue to commit crimes with the recklessness of knowing that they are under the guise of impunity. Undoubtedly, they get the courage from the Interior Minister.”
Seven detained in Dersim during statement in support of Saturday Mothers
The police also detained seven journalists and İHD members who wanted to hold a press statement in Dersim province against the blockade imposed on Saturday Mothers in Istanbul.
The governor's office had issued a one-day protest ban against the group that wanted to hold a press statement the previous week, and the participants were detained. This week, a one-day protest ban was also imposed across the province.