Turkish police break up demonstration

Turkish police have detained dozens of protesters after using pepper spray, batons and boots to break up a demonstration by women's rights supporters.

    Witnesses say the police used excessive force

    The crackdown occurred after a group of about 150 people gathered in Istanbul on Sunday before International Women's Day on 8 March.

    Police intervened after protesters refused to disperse and detained 59 people, including 29 women, private news channel NTV said.

    Television pictures showed riot police charging protesters, beating them with batons and kicking them on the ground.

     

    One policeman beat a woman to the ground with his baton, then another ran up and kicked her in the face.

     

    A police vehicle was damaged by stone-hurling protesters, and some demonstrators were injured in the melee, NTV said.

     

    EU membership


    Turkey has promised to do more to improve the plight of women as it legislates reforms required by the European Union before the government begins membership talks in October.

    Women's groups want gender
    equality in the constitution

    The European commissioner for enlargement Ollie Rehn said that Turkey must do more to improve women's right after talks with Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul in the capital Ankara.

    Turkish women have for decades had the right to vote and access to education. But gender equality is not enshrined in the constitution and cultural tradition often prevents equal treatment.

    Up to half of the women in Turkey face domestic abuse in a "culture of violence", Amnesty International has said.

    And dozens of women are murdered by family members each year in "honour killings".

    SOURCE: Reuters


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