TUNCELI–Turkey (Reuters)–Police detained 21 members of Turkey’s only legal Kurdish Party on Friday when they attempted to protest against the arrests of thousands of Kurds last weekend during World Peace Day–local officials said.
Fifty members of the People’s Democracy Party (HADEP)–gathered in the center of the southeastern town of Tunceli–an official who declined to be named told Reuters. Police first warned the group the protest was not permitted.
‘Twenty-one people–including the chief of the HADEP Tunceli branch office Alican Unlu–were detained after refusing to heed police warnings," he said. Police used batons to disperse the rest–he said.
In a separate incident on Friday in the mainly-Kurdish regional capital Diyarbakir–paramilitary police raided offices of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and confiscated materials–but made no arrests–a security official in the city told Reuters.
HADEP sought to organize a large World Peace Day demonstration last Saturday in the capital Ankara–but was denied permission.
Authorities apparently feared demonstrations could be in support of Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan and his outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK)–which has waged a 17-year-long campaign for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish southeast.