ISTANBUL — Daily News with wires
PKK supporters hold a sit-in at Taksim Square on Monday. The sign reads, 'We do not accept Feb. 15, and we will never accept it.' The date marks the day PKK leader Öcalan was captured 11 years ago. DHA photo
CORRECTION: An earlier verison of this story omitted the fact that the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, is an outlawed, terrorist organization. This version reflects the correction.
A group of supporters of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, gathered Monday in Istanbul's Tarlabaşı neighborhood in a demonstration to mark the 11th year of the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan who was convicted of terrorism.
Around 500 people participated in a sit-in in Istanbul’s Taksim area for the anniversary of Öcalan's capture. The group then dispersed to the city's Tarlabaşı neighborhood where fights broke out on side streets. DHA video footage showed police clashing with the demonstrators.
Small-scale violence erupted in other cities across Turkey on Sunday and Monday as Öcalan’s supporters took to the streets in protest of his capture. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey as well as the United States and the European Union.
Hundreds of demonstrators clashed with police in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır as well, Agence France-Presse reported. Around 3,000 people attended a meeting in the city. Clashes erupted between demonstrators and police after police stopped the crowd from marching through the city. Some protesters barricaded streets and burned tires, shouting "Long live chairman Apo," using Öcalan’s nickname.
In the southeastern town of Yüksekova, protesters took to the streets around noon Monday. Roughly 100 people barricaded one of the town's main streets as well as smaller side streets and started fires. Some protesters threw rocks, tried vandalizing a bank ATM and spray-painted "PKK" on a bank shutter. Police intervened with pressurized colored water and tear gas. Turkish wire agencies at the scene reported hearing sporadic gunshots. Craftsmen in some cities in southeastern Anatolia did not open their shops.
The city was virtually shut down by the police because of the 11th anniversary on Monday of the jailed terrorist's capture in Kenya and subsequent transport to Turkey.
Meanwhile, for the first time in Turkey, police made an announcement in Kurdish in the southeastern province of Şırnak’s Cizre district during clashes Sunday. Police called families to keep children away from the demonstrations.