Turkish police break up protest against ‘violence against women’


ISTANBUL, November 25 (Reuters) – Riot police fired pepper spray to disperse demonstrators who gathered in Istanbul on Thursday to protest violence against women, some chanting “the government step down”, nearly five months after Turkey’s withdrawal from a treaty on the issue.

The group of several thousand, mostly women, marched towards downtown Taksim Square, blocked by barriers amid a heavy police presence. Police fired gas and scuffled with protesters after urging the crowd to disperse.

The protest, organized to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, coincided with other small anti-government protests this week against the lira’s sharp decline in value.

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Protesters chanted and helped raise banners, demanding urgent action against gender-based violence in Turkey.

“We are not silent, we are not afraid, we are not obeying,” chanted the demonstrators, who rushed to the police barriers.

In early July, Turkey withdrew from an international treaty to combat violence against women, known as the Istanbul Convention and negotiated in Turkey’s largest city in 2011, in a move heavily criticized by Western allies. Read more

Erdogan announced the withdrawal in March, saying Turkey would use local laws to protect women’s rights.

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Reporting by Yesim Dikmen, Mehmet Emin Caliskan, Huseyin Aldemir, Umit Bektas Writing by Daren Butler Editing by Nick Zieminski

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