Riot police fired pepper spray to disperse protesters who gathered in Istanbul on Thursday to protest violence against women, some chanting “government resignation”, nearly five months after Turkey withdrew of a treaty on the question.
The group of several thousand people, mostly women, marched to Taksim Square in the city center, blocked by barriers amid a heavy police presence. Police fired on 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 sharp drop in the value of the pound.
Protesters chanted and waved banners, demanding urgent action against gender-based violence in Turkey.
“We are not silent, we are not afraid, we do not obey,” 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, a decision strongly criticized by Western allies.
Erdogan announced the pullout in March, saying Turkey would use local laws to protect women’s rights.
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