Mayur Pahilajani
AHN News
March 23, 2008

Istanbul, Turkey (AHN) – Clashes continued on Saturday between Turkish police and Kurdish protesters in a number of cities in Turkey during the Kurdish spring festival.

Dozens of demonstrators have been reportedly wounded and many arrested as they chant support for separatist guerrillas, Kurdistan Workers’ Party.

Protesters heavily clashed with Turkish security forces mainly in eastern and southeastern region, according to the reports.

The local media suggested that the police have been trying to disperse Kurdish crowd celebrating Newroz, the Kurdish new year, without permission.

Around 65 people were reportedly injured including police officers, according to the local media.

The celebration also marks the importance of demands for autonomy for a separate Kurdish region and other rights.

Kurds represent 20 percent of Turkey’s total population of 70 million people, according to the EuroNews report.

Tensions between the two sides mounted after Turkish military personnel entered northern Iraq to destroy Kurdish rebels’ base for 3,000 insurgents near the border region between Iraq and Turkey.

On early Saturday, Kurdish demonstrators along with Turkish Kurds had gathered in the city of Van, near Turkey’s border with Iran, to celebrate the festival, according to The Associated Press news agency.

Similar clashes were reported on Friday with several being injured and many getting arrested.

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