Protests in Van continue unabated

The protests in Van continue unabated and the police have called in reinforcements. Barricades were burning all night, and hundreds of homes were stormed by the police in the early morning after yesterday’s protests.

Kurdish politician Abdullah Zeydan, who ran as co-mayor with Neslihan Şedal for the DEM party and won the election with a large majority, was stripped of his civil rights by order of the Turkish government. In his place, the AKP candidate was given the certificate of appointment as mayor. Zeydan was arrested in November 2016 as an HDP deputy and spent more than five years in prison. In Van, as in most Kurdish cities and municipalities, a trustee has ruled in place of the elected mayors since 2016.

The protests in Van against the appointment of AKP candidate Abdulahat Arvas as mayor continue. Thousands of people remained on the streets during the night until the early morning, with barricades being built everywhere. A water cannon was set alight in the city centre. After the protesting residents withdrew for sahur (meal before dawn during Ramadan), Turkish police entered the neighbourhoods and randomly fired gas canisters at the houses. Hundreds of homes were stormed by the police and many violent arrests were made. While the number of people detained is unclear, almost every flat on Sürmeli Street in the Xaçort neighbourhood was searched.

The police have reinforced their forces in the city centre. Thousands of police officers have been deployed to the city centre on city buses. There are water cannons in all the side streets. Almost all the main streets are impassable and most of the shops are closed.

Despite a ban on gatherings issued by the governor's office, a rally from seven starting points in the city centre is taking place today. The co-chairs of the DEM party, Tülay Hatimoğulları and Tuncer Bakırhan, will take part in the demonstration together with other members of parliament.

People have taken to the streets once again today and started to march across the city, chanting "Abdullah Zeydan is our honour". In some places, the police attacked the crowd. The people then started to set up barricades. Masses marched to Cumhuriyet Street, which remains under blockade. The police attacked the people with gas bombs and water cannons. While the resistance of the people against the attacks continues, people continue to flock to Cumhuriyet Street from many points.