Turkey police arrest dozens after referendum protests

#TurkeyChooses

At least 38 people accused of participating in demonstrations against the referendum result have been arrested or had arrest warrants issued

Protesters marched in Istanbul on Tuesday against referendum result (AFP)
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Last update: 
Wednesday 19 April 2017 15:27 UTC
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At least 38 people accused of participating in protests against the Turkish presidential referendum were arrested in dawn raids on Wednesday or issued arrest warrants, according to lawyers and relatives.

"These people are mainly those who attended the protests after the referendum and raised their voice against the referendum result on social media," said Deniz Demirdogen, a lawyer for one of the detainees, Mesut Gecgel.

"The police told the detainees that they were accused of trying to agitate people against the 'Yes' vote," Demirdogen told the New York Times.

A number of those arrested belonged to the United June Movement, an organisation set up following the Gezi Park protests in 2013 against the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

On Monday, thousands of supporters of the 'No' campaign in the referendum on granting Erdogan greater powers took to the streets of Istanbul to protest alleged poll violations.

At least 1,000 protesters thronged Besiktas on the European side of the city while on the Asian side about 2,000 demonstrators marched through Kadikoy, another staunchly secular and anti-Erdogan district, AFP correspondents said.

There has been anger among 'No' supporters over last minute changes to the voting procedures but the authorities insist the referendum was conducted cleanly.

"We will not make you president" and "We are shoulder to shoulder against fascism," the protesters in Kadikoy chanted, as they marched towards the offices of the Supreme Election Board.

Others brandished viral hashtag slogans from the referendum night like "The 'No' is not finished" and "'No' has won".

In Besiktas, protesters held pamphlets with the words "We are right, we will win".

In homes lining the route of the protest, people bashed pots and pans with kitchen utensils from the windows of their apartments to show solidarity.

Police generally kept a low profile on the sidelines of the protest but warned against using offensive slogans.

Smaller protests were also held in other Turkish cities and Turkish media reports said that 13 people were arrested in a protest in the southern Mediterranean city of Antalya.

The 'Yes' camp won 51.41 percent in Sunday's referendum, in a narrower than expected victory, according to complete results released by election authorities.