Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Slap in the Face . . .

Newroz did not pass without political incident this year, though it was less violent in years past. Two main disturbances occurred, one in the city of Batman in Diyarbakir province, a BDP stronghold, and the other in the town of Silopi in Sirnak province when a clash between police and Newroz observers resulted in BDP Istanbul deputy Sebahat Tuncel slapping a police captain.

The Batman incident involved a tent that was reportedly illegally setup outside the municipality building. Police tried to disassemble the tent, but met resistance. Approximately 70 people were detained in the clashes that followed.

The incident involving Tuncel occurred when a canister of tear gas reportedly hit Tuncel's leg. In a confrontation with police, Tuncel slapped a police captain, drawing criticism from Prime Minister Erdogan and Interior Minister Besir Atalay. The incident has been heavily covered in the Turkish press in recent days.

Violence in years past, for example in 2008, has been much worse.

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