Turkish Police break up a vigil for the disappeared of the 1980s and arrest several attendees

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June 25. (EUROPA PRESS) –

The Istanbul Police has dispersed a vigil of activists and mothers of the disappeared during the 1980s and 1990s, in an operation that has led to the arrest of several participants, including family members, the director of the Human Rights Association (IHD) local, Ozturk Turkdogan, and prominent human rights lawyer, Eren Keskin according to Amnesty International.

“The Turkish authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all those arbitrarily detained solely for exercising their right to peaceful assembly and expression,” Amnesty said in a statement.

The group of the Madres del Sábdao, as they are known, has been holding weekly vigils for decades. However, the gatherings were banned in 2018 after their 700th gathering, when police used force and tear gas to disperse them, Amnesty said.

“Time and time again, the Saturday Mothers/People have faced brutal repression and even prosecution for participating in peaceful vigils. The Turkish authorities have never provided a valid justification for their spiteful, arbitrary and illegal denial of the right to exercise freedom of expression and assembly,” denounces Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for Europe, Julia Hall.

The mothers are demanding an independent investigation into the fate of their children and relatives, who disappeared after the 1980 military coup and throughout the 1990s in Turkey’s mainly Kurdish southeast.

Police cordoned off Galatasaray Square in central Istanbul where opposition deputies were also accompanying the vigil, reports the Evrensel newspaper.

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