Turkey: Women defy ban to march on IWD

Issue 
Thousands of women took to the streets in Instanbul on the eve of International Women's Day, in defiance of a protest ban. Photo: Firat News Agency

Thousands of Kurdish and Turkish women and LGBTI groups in Istanbul defied a government ban to march on the eve of International Women's Day on March 8.

Participants in the IWD “Night March” headed to Taksim Square, which had earlier been cordoned off by a huge police presence.

According to the Firat News Agency (ANF) the protest, organised by the Feminist Collective "turned Taksim Square into a purple sea of flags and marched towards Karaköy under the slogan ‘Feminist revolt instead of obedience – everywhere’.

“Between loud concerts of whistles, the slogans ‘The nights, streets and squares belong to us’, ‘The world would shake if women were free’, ‘Women, life, freedom’, ‘No male justice, but real justice’ and ‘We are not silent, we are not afraid, we do not bend’ resounded.”

Deputies from the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), including co-chair Pervin Buldan, party spokesperson Ebru Günay, Züleyha Gülüm and Oya Ersoy also participated in the march.

A statement, read out in Kurdish, Turkish and Arabic said: "The feminist revolt is everywhere.

"With our laughter, our anger, our rebellion and our resistance, we are here, at the 19th Feminist Night March. We stand side by side and we are strong, thanks to our feminist solidarity.

"Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the structural violence against women has become even more visible. The patriarchy tries to dominate at every opportunity, whether at home, at work or on the streets.

“Feminism gives us the power to say no, to protect our own lives, bodies and work, and with this power we rebel and fight in all aspects of life. We protect ourselves, our lives and our right to self-determination.

“The forms of women's rebellion are as diverse as their realities and living spaces. The common goal is an equal life in peace, free from patriarchy, oppression, exploitation, sexual violence, homophobia, transphobia, discrimination, racism and capitalism.

“The struggle for liberation will continue at all levels of life; at home, at work, in universities, on the streets.”

Video: Eylul Deniz Yasar, Medya News.