BDP supporters denounce YSK decision with violent protests

BDP supporters denounce YSK decision with violent protests

Protestors attacked armored police vehicles with stones and sticks in many Turkish provinces, denouncing a recent YSK decision that prevented 12 independent candidates from running in the June 12 general elections.

April 20, 2011, Wednesday/ 17:20:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Thousands of supporters of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) took to the streets on late Monday and Tuesday in many Turkish provinces to protest a recent decision of the Supreme Election Board (YSK) to bar 12 independent candidates from running in the June 12 parliamentary elections.

The YSK argued that the nominees have past convictions of terror-related crimes. Ten of the nominees were planning to run in the elections for the BDP. The pro-Kurdish party decided to enter elections with independent candidates out of fear that it would fail to pass the 10 percent election threshold if it entered the polls as a party. In eastern Van on Tuesday, protestors attacked banks and the offices of public notaries with Molotov cocktails and stones. Owners of business places shut down their stores to avoid any financial loss.

Some protestors lit fires in the middle of the street, which police tried to put out with pressurized water. When clashes erupted between police and protestors, police then tried to disperse protestors using tear gas. Two police officers were injured when a vehicle carrying a group of police officers hit a barrier set up in the middle of a street by protestors to prevent police from entering. The injured police officers were immediately rushed to a nearby hospital.

Protests turned violent in İstanbul as well. Vehicles were set ablaze in the Gaziosmanpaşa district on Monday night to protest the YSK decision. Protestors mainly targeted vehicles that had Turkish flags. According to news reports, violent protestors wore masks to hide their faces and carried BDP flags. Police detained four of the protestors. Other violent protest took place in Ankara, Diyarbakır, Batman and Mersin.

In İstanbul yesterday afternoon, around 3,000 protestors rallied in Taksim Square to protest the YSK decision. Protestors carried banners that read, “Handcuffs for the elected are indeed for the will of the public,” and chanted slogans, “We are with you Öcalan,” “Kurdistan will become a grave for fascism,” “We will hang Erdoğan, and we will enter Parliament” and “Pressure will not overwhelm us.” The protest was also attended by BDP deputies Sabahat Tuncel and Ufuk Uras. Delivering a speech, Tuncel said: “Chaos and violence will erupt when there is no justice. The aim [of the YSK] is to make two peoples clash.”

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