Turkish riot police fired pepper spray to disperse a group of protesters pushing back against a line of police on Wednesday as a rally to mark International Women’s Day was winding down in central Istanbul.
Women whistled and chanted, “We do not keep quiet, we are not scared, we do not bow down,” as they pushed riot police shields, triggering the tussles with police, while the rest of the crowd of around 2,000 dispersed.
Police had prevented the crowd from staging a march through the city center after local authorities issued a statement saying it would not allow marches, protests or press statements. Local metro stations were closed from early in the afternoon.
“Government resign,” the crowd chanted during the protest. “We are angry, we are in mourning, we are in feminist rebellion,” said a large banner held up at the front of the crowd.
The event was being staged a little over two months before elections which are expected to represent President Tayyip Erdogan’s biggest ever electoral challenge. It was also just over a month after devastating earthquakes in southern Turkey that killed more than 52,000 people.