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Almost 50 arrested as police break up Saturday Mothers’ 700th protest in Istanbul

NEARLY 50 people were arrested on Saturday as Turkish police broke up a regular demonstration by mothers protesting about the disappearance of their children in the 1980s and ’90s.

The Saturday Mothers were holding their 700th weekly protest since they began the meetings in Istanbul in May 1995.

The group calls for the state archives to be opened so that the fate of the disappeared can be revealed and for the abolition of the statute of limitations on abuses committed by state security.

Police broke up the demonstration with tear gas and water cannon.

Among the detained was 82-year-old protest leader Emine Ocak, whose son Hasan was taken into custody in 1995 and never seen again.

Lawyer Efkan Bolac said everyone arrested was released after being made to give a police statement.

Turkey’s Human Rights Watch director Emma Sinclair-Webb said the police crackdown was “shameful, cruel treatment of families seeking justice for state crimes.”

Police had announced the rally would be banned because support for it had been seen on social media accounts they said were linked to the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

At a solidarity rally in London, Kurdistan Solidarity Campaign co-chair Paula Lamont said the Saturday Mothers were asking one simple question, “Where are our loved ones?”

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