Isolation protests in May 1 celebrations in Kurdistan

Workers took to the streets in Kurdistan for May 1. AKP’s anti-labor practices were protested in the demonstrations where the workers also drew attention to the isolation and the hunger strikes.

Participants of May 1 celebrations throughout Kurdistan called for an end to the isolation in Imrali.


Sirnak hasn’t been able to hold May 1 celebrations in the city center or the districts since the curfews 4 years ago. This year was no different. The District Governorate rejected the appeal for a permit for the rally to be held in Cizre, and Public Workers’ Unions Confederation (KESK) Chapters Platform members celebrated the day with a press statement read in front of their Cizre offices.

KESK Term Spokesperson and Egitim-SEN Sirnak Chapter Chairperson Muzaffer Yildirim spoke about the rights violations against workers, workplace murders, pressures against opposition media and academics and the isolation and hunger strikes against it. Yildirim said; “By insisting on the isolation, the AKP government will go down in history as the ones responsible for the outcome of the hunger strikes and the deaths. We favor life, not death. Isolation is a crime against humanity.”


Workers, women, public workers and mothers took to the streets in Mardin on May 1. The celebrations couldn’t be held in the city center due to a ban by the Governorate, and were moved to the area in front of the Artuklu Sports Hall some 8 km from the center. The crowd gathered in front of the Highways Directorate and marched to the Sports Hall in a cortege.

The march was led by the Peace Mothers who held banners and signs drawing attention to the ongoing hunger strikes against the isolation imposed upon Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Ocalan, and  the death fasts.

KESK Chapters Platform Term Spokesperson Mustafa Bozan said they will continue to speak up for the hunger strikes. Perihan Altug spoke in the name of the Peace Mothers Assembly and said; “Speak up for our children’s hunger. Speak up for us mothers. I call on Turkish mothers and Kurdish mothers. Hear this cry. Prevent deaths. End the isolation. Let our children live.”

Mardin Co-mayor Ahmet Turk pointed to the hunger strikes and called on the Justice Ministry and the Presidency to take action.

After the speeches, the demonstration concluded following a concert by Koma Hivron.


Forces of labor and democracy led the May 1 rally held in the Seyit Riza Square. Hundreds gathered in the Arts Street before the rally and marched to the Seyit Riza Square in corteges. HDP held a banner that read “End the isolation Let Leyla live Biji 1e Gulane”, KESK Dersim Chapters Platform “We won’t surrender to precarity, unemployment, poverty and regression”, DISK “Seniority is a red line, can’t be touched can’t be stolen”. The crowd chanted “Leyla Guven is our honor”, “Biji Berxwedana Zindanan”, “Thousand salutes to Imrali”, “Labor, bread, freedom”, “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism”, “long live May 1” and “KHKs will go we will be here”.


May 1 celebrations in Siirt were held by the Belediye-is Union members in the July 15 Democracy Square. The area was surrounded by the police as the workers played drums and danced celebrating May 1. Siirt Co-mayor Berivan Helen Isik also attended the May 1 celebrations. Belediye-is Union Siirt Chapter Chairperson Halit Akinay read a statement and said they are in the streets to protest mandatory combination of seniority compensations with Individual Retirement Insurance (BES) and their turn over to a fund, to stand against imperialism and to say that they won’t foot the bill for the crisis. Akinay said they demand all workers and public workers who have been fired from the municipality to be reinstated and justice for workers who can’t retire due to age restrictions. Akinay said: “To end workplace murders, to remove obstacles on the path to organization, to have investment not in new prisons but in production and the public, for work suitable for human dignity.”