Members of a major religious community in Turkey have staged a demonstration in a show of protest against what they call unequal treatment, Press TV reports.
On Sunday, thousands of Alevis took to the streets in the Kadikoy district of Istanbul, calling for an end to “unfair treatment by authorities.”
“The Turkish republic is 90 years old but we Alevis still haven’t got freedom of religion which is why we are gathering here. We cannot freely practice our Alevi culture; we cannot worship freely. In the 21st century, here in Turkey, the government does not even recognize Alewism as a religion,” a protester said.
During the rally, the Alevis chanted the slogan “Equal citizenship,” and demanded a democratic constitution.
“We will never bend the knee to injustice,” the protesters said.
Turkey’s police cordoned off the protest area and the protesters were required to pass through a checkpoint to avoid tension.
The demonstrators also chanted slogans referring to the anti-government Gezi Park protests that were sparked in May.
On May 31, the unrest in Turkey erupted after police broke up a sit-in staged at Taksim Square to protest against a government plan for the redevelopment of Gezi Park.
In the first two weeks of June, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters held demonstrations in the cities across the country.
Five people, including a police officer, have died in the clashes and more than 5,000 protesters and 600 police officers have been injured.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been harshly criticized for the way he has handled the crisis.
On October 2, Amnesty International accused Turkish police of gross human rights violations during anti-government protests which rocked the country in June.
The human rights organization also said, “The Turkish government must learn to tolerate the dissenting opinions expressed through street protests.”
By Press TV
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