Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on June 15 started the “March for Democracy against Coup” in the northwestern province of Edirne and the southeastern province of Hakkari.
The march, which aimed to end in the capital Ankara on June 20, has faced restrictions including bans on entry and exit to some provinces due to the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Before the march started, HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar, the members of the party’s Central Executive Board (MYK), party assembly and lawmakers gathered in front of the party’s building in Hakkari. Police forces barricaded the front of the party branch building and the avenue it is located on.
The police told HDP members that the march will not be allowed as per a decision by the Hakkari Governor’s Office. After this announcement, Sancar and the other HDP members departed with cars for the eastern province of Van.
But the Van Governor’s Office on June 11 banned crowded activities which it said could further spread COVID-19. The governor’s office did not refer to the HDP march while it was announcing the recent decisions.
In the meantime, the Edirne Governor’s Office on June 12 banned the entry and exits to the province and suspended all activities for three days, as they could “weaken the fight against the coronavirus.”
Similar bans were also imposed across Turkey in Adana, Bitlis, Kırklareli, Kocaeli, Sakarya and Tekirdağ.
HDP co-chair Pervin Buldan said on June 15 that her party will not end marching.
At least 10 people aiming to go to Edirne were detained in Istanbul’s Silivri district and there was police intervention at the march held by HDP supporters in Hakkari.