Turkish police have fired tear gas and rubber bullets at thousands of women protesting against men’s violence in Istanbul.
- Protesters demanded that the country return to an international treaty to protect women
- The Turkish president withdrew from the convention in March
- Rights groups say 353 women have been murdered in Turkey so far this year
The protesters gathered in the capital to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
Some held signs saying “We are not silent, not scared” and “We will fight until we get what we want”, while other banners called on the government to resign.
Protesters demanded the country return to a landmark international treaty, signed in the same city, which was designed to protect women.
The landmark Istanbul Convention entered into force in 2014 and paved the way for a European legal framework to tackle, prevent and prosecute violence against women.
Some officials from Turkey’s Islam-oriented ruling party called for a revision of the agreement, claiming that it was not in line with Turkey’s conservative values.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pulled Turkey out of the convention with a surprise decree overnight in March, sparking condemnation from women’s rights groups and Western countries.
A court appeal to prevent the move was rejected, and Turkey’s withdrawal was formalized in July.
‘We will not accept this’
Optøjerpolitiet, der havde sat barrikader op for enden af en gade for at forhindre marchen i at fortsætte, affyrede tåregas, da en gruppe demonstranter forsøgte at bryde barriererne.
At least one protester was injured, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.
“I do not feel safe when I go out at any time of the day, it does not matter if it is day or night.
“Similarly, I do not think any woman feels safe either.”
Another protester, Serhat Alan, said women were “publicly murdered”.
“If a man is free to pull a knife in the subway yesterday, if the perpetrators can comfortably walk among us, that’s not right,” she said.
Similar protests were held in Ankara and other cities.
After withdrawing from the Istanbul Convention, the government announced its action plan to combat violence against women, including objectives such as reviewing legal proceedings, improving protection services and collecting data on violence.
Human rights groups say violence against women is on the rise in Turkey.
Advocate group We Will Stop Femicide said 353 women had been murdered in Turkey so far this year, and 409 were killed last year.
In October, 18 women were killed by men and 19 others were found dead under suspicious circumstances, according to the group.
ABC / wires
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