Pro-Kurdish party protests crackdown in Turkey

April 23, 2009 02:08


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Pro-Kurdish lawmakers began an overnight sit-in protest at parliament late Wednesday following the detention of more than 200 members in a nationwide police crackdown over the past week. The pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party swept votes in the Kurdish-dominated southeast in local elections in late March. The party faces disbandment on charges of ties to separatist Kurdish rebels. Twenty-one party lawmakers refused to leave their seats after the end of the parliament session, during which parliament voted to declare May 1 as an official holiday bowing to years long pressure from labor unions. Selahattin Demirtas, a leading lawmaker, said the sit-in protest was aimed at stressing that a solution to the Kurdish problem should be sought within parliament.

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