Turkey's Erdogan accuses International Women's Day marchers of disrespecting Islam

Police fire tear gas to disperse thousands of female protestors

Monday 11 March 2019 01:15 GMT
International Women's Day: when and how did the annual event start?

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused a women’s march in central Istanbul of disrespecting Islam by booing the Islamic call to prayer.

Several thousand women had gathered in central Istanbul on Friday evening for a march to celebrate International Women’s Day but police fired tear gas to disperse them.

In an election rally broadcast on television, Mr Erdogan showed a video taken during the protest, showing women chanting while a nearby mosque was reciting the call to prayer.

“They disrespected the Azan [call to prayer] by slogans, booing and whistling,” Mr Erdogan told the crowd.

Women who took part in the march said on Twitter the chanting and whistling was part of the demonstration and was not aimed at the call to prayer, which began during their protest.

Turkish police regularly prevent protests in central Istanbul and elsewhere.

Ankara tightened restrictions after the imposition of emergency rule following an attempted coup in 2016. The state of emergency was lifted last July.

Mr Erdogan’s rally was ahead of local elections on March 31 for mayors and municipal boards.

Reuters - Reporting by Ece Toksabay, Editing by Jane Merriman

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in