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April 20, 2019

Pro-Kurdish deputy injured in Turkey election protest

Pro-Kurdish deputy injured in Turkey election protest
'Turkish police fired water canon to break up a protest by Pro-Kurdish Peoples's Democratic Party (HDP) members' - By: AFP STR

A pro-Kurdish deputy was injured on Wednesday during protests in southeastern Turkey over a ban on her party's candidates taking up their posts after winning in last month's election, an AFP correspondent said.

Around 100 people had gathered in Baglar district of Diyarbakir in the mostly Kurdish southeast to demonstrate against the decision by electoral authorities affecting the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

When HDP officials started to read a declaration, police fired water canon to break up the demonstration, an AFP correspondent said.

Pro-Kurdish lawmaker Remziye Tosun was hospitalised after falling on a concrete slab and losing consciousness. Doctors later found a fracture in her back, the AFP correspondent said.

Officials had banned several HDP winning candidates from taking up their posts after the March 31 local election. Officials said they were included in a list of hundreds of thousands of people dismissed from public service jobs after a failed 2016 coup against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

HDP has demanded electoral authorities reverse the ban in six districts where its candidates won over Erdogan's ruling AKP candidate.

More than 140,000 people were fired from public sector jobs and public institutions by a decree after the 2016 failed coup, which Ankara blames on US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

Officials said the purge was needed to clear out Gulen supporters. Critics say it was a crackdown on dissent in general.

Some of those fired were accused of having ties to pro-Kurdish PKK militants fighting a decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state. The PKK is listed as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies.

The HDP has long been accused by Erdogan of close ties to the PKK and several of its leaders and mayors are in prison on terror-related charges. The party dismisses those allegations.

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