Protesters attack HDP election office in northwestern Turkey

A group of locals protesting the opening of an election bureau of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the northwestern province of Tekirdai threw stones at the building which houses the office and an election campaign bus of the party. The crowd of protesters gathered near the building as a group of 50 HDP members were attending a ceremony for the inauguration of the office in Tekirdai’s Saray district. The crowd chanted slogans “We don’t want [the Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK in Saray.” Riot police teams dispatched to the area intervened to calm tensions between the protesters and the HDP members when the two groups engaged in a verbal fight. The HDP members had to seek refuge inside the building as the police failed to disperse the protesters. The crowd then demanded a Turkish flag be hung on the walls of the building. They hurled stones at the office and an election campaign bus parked outside the building, smashing its windows. The crowd refused to disperse despite calls from Saray mayor and the district governor who came to the scene to convince the protesters to leave. The group continued the protest for hours and left only after promises from officials that the HDP members will leave. The HDP members inside the building weTre taken out of Saray in a bus provided by the police. The HDP, which hopes to pass a 10-percent election threshold to enter Parliament in June 7 general election, has been subject to dozens of attacks throughout the election campaign. Party officials have reported more than 40 attacks on HDP election bureaus across Turkey, increasing pre-election tensions.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman