DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Kurdistan 24) - Turkey’s opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) on Monday announced that its lawmakers would take a now week-long demonstration against an ongoing government crackdown from the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir to the country's largest, Istanbul.
HDP Spokesperson Osman Baydemir said their "watch for justice and conscience" would continue in the cities of Van and Izmir as well after Istanbul.
"I want to express my gratitude to the free journalists and media corporations from the Kurdistan Region who for seven days toiled along with us," Baydemir said, reported a Kurdistan 24 correspondent there.
Criticizing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government, Baydemir asked why thousands of police officers cordoned off the Diyarbakir public park where he and his fellow lawmakers were holding the protest.
Turkish authorities have prevented people of the Kurdish city from joining their representatives' demonstration.
Baydemir once again called on Erdogan to stop what he described as 'enmity of Kurds,' stating Ankara had to respect Kurdish people's will in Turkey, Iraq, and Syria where they are struggling for different degrees of self-rule.
On the continued imprisonment of HDP's charismatic co-leader Selahattin Demirtas and the former co-chair Figen Yuksekdag, Baydemir said they were political rivals of Erdogan who are unjustly treated with "hatred and hostility."
"If the putschists had won, you, I, and Demirtas would have been in prison," he said, addressing President Erdogan whose rule survived a botched military coup last year.
He stated government practices were destroying Erdogan's legitimacy as President, calling for an end to the crackdown on the Kurds.
"Fascism is afraid of the people. Fascism has already lost," he added.
Editing by Ava Homa