At least 488 detained during Newroz celebrations

At least 488 people, 173 of whom are minors, were detained before the Newroz celebrations. Despite all the attacks, the people flocked to the celebrations.

Newroz was celebrated in more than 60 cities under the motto "Dem dema serkeftine ye (Now is the time to win)". Freedom of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan was the primary subject during the celebrations. More than 1 million people attended the Newroz festival in Amed (Diyarbakır) on Monday, March 21.

Despite all the attacks and crackdown by the AKP-MHP government, people embraced the celebrations. It is reported that at least 488 people were detained, 173 of them being minors.

Some of the rights violations at Newroz are as follows:


On March 19 and 20, dozens of people were detained during the Newroz celebrations in Amed's districts. Numerous people were not allowed to the site of the central rally yesterday because of their traditional dresses with colours representing Kurds. Some artists also were not allowed to appear on Newroz stage due to their traditional dresses. Many people in Amed’s districts were detained during the course of political extermination operations before the Newroz celebrations. Some of the detainees were beaten by police officers.

The Newroz celebration in Amed on March 21 started with police intervention. Tens of thousands of people were not allowed to go into the event area. The police attacked people at many points using gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. Some people were injured or fell ill following the brutal intervention. At least 300 people, 150 of whom are minors, were detained after the Newroz celebrations.


On March 20, artists Serhat Kural, Fesih Şahin, Nihat Yılmaz, Eyüp Yıldız, Sedat Kement, Gökhan Ölçer, Mervan Aktumur were detained over their songs in Kurdish after the Newroz celebration in Aydın's Efeler district. Five detainees were released on bail while Fesih Şahin was arrested and sent to Aydın E Type Closed Prison.


On March 21, Hediye Yıldız, Serhat Levent, Hamide Kaya and Resul Hocaoğulları Meram, who attended the Newroz celebration in Konya downtown, were detained at check stops because of their traditional Kurdish dresses.


On March 19, police attacked the march after the Newroz celebration in Mardin's Kızıltepe district. Around 30 people, mostly children, were detained.

During the Newroz celebrations in Mardin's Nusaybin district on March 21, policemen entered the area and attempted to seize flags and make arrests. As a result of the public's reaction, policemen had to take a step back. However, police raided several houses in the evening hours after the Newroz celebration. At least 5 people were detained. Camera footage showed that policemen inflicted brutal violence on a person out on the street.


During the Newroz celebrations in Silopi district of Şırnak on 20 March, 6 people carrying yellow, red and green flags were detained. Furthermore, HDP Şırnak Provincial Co-Chair Sabuha Akdağ was subjected to police violence when she refused a body search.


During the Newroz celebrations in Adana on March 21, Yeni Yaşam newspaper employee Serhat Sezgin was detained while he was about to enter the event area. It is also reported that many people were detained for carrying yellow, red and green flags and chanting slogans.


86 people, including 5 minors, were detained after the Newroz celebration in Istanbul on March 20.


In Tekirdağ on March 20, 9 people were detained due to a brawl that broke out after an nationalist-fascist group attempted to provoke the participants in the area where the celebration was held.

Again, 5 people who came to the area were detained on charges of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization" because of the slogans they chanted.


On March 19, 4 people were detained after the Newroz celebration in Kocaeli's Gebze district. Ramazan Öter, İhsan Öter, Eyüp Öter and Yusuf Demir were detained for "conducting propaganda for a (terrorist) organization" since they sang a national anthem during the celebration.


On March 20, 15 people were detained on the grounds that they chanted slogans in favour of Kurdish leader Öcalan in Van.

After a celebration held in Erciş district on March 17, 5 people were detained for allegedly "conducting propaganda for a (terrorist) organization".


On March 21, 10 people were detained over the slogans chanted in Ağrı.


On March 21, a member of the Grup İsyan Ateşi (Fire of Rebellion Band) was detained during the Newroz celebration in Hakkari’s Yüksekova district.