ISTANBUL, Turkey: At least 38 women were detained after riot police set up barricades and fired pepper gas to block demonstrators from joining an International Women’s Day march in central Istanbul on March 8.
A group of demonstrators who tried to board a ferry across the Bosporus to join the march were also detained, Cumhuriyet newspaper reported.
Demonstrators in Turkey use the March 8 Women’s Day events to push for strong measures to prevent violence against women by former partners or family members.
As in previous years, authorities declared the city’s main square, Taksim, and surrounding areas off-limits for such demonstrations. Riot police then put up metal barricades around Taksim and on side streets leading to the square, as well as to a nearby pedestrian thoroughfare.
At least 73 women have been killed in Turkey since the start of the year, according to the We Will Stop Femicide Platform.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government withdrew Turkey from a European treaty on combating violence against women last year, drawing similar protests and widespread international condemnation.
Last week, Erdogan promised a set of judicial reforms to curb acts of violence against women, including increased prison terms when the victims of killings, injuries, torture, or ill-treatment are women.