Some 2,000 people marched peacefully in central Istanbul on International Women’s Day, protesting the Turkish government’s policies and violence against women. A small group of protesters later clashed with officers who blocked them from Taksim Square.
The demonstrators, mostly women, marched down the city’s landmark pedestrian Istiklal Street on Saturday towards Gezi Park at Taksim Square – the cradle of last year's massive anti-government protests.
As riot police cordoned off the area, some protesters tried to break the police line, hitting officers with the sticks of the banners they were carrying, Ruptly news agency reported. Police used shields and batons to disperse the crowd.
The protesters shouted, “Police go home, the streets are ours" and "Tayyip (Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan) run away the women are coming," Xinhua news agency reported.
According to a survey conducted by the Turkish Health Union, more than 79 percent of respondents believe there is gender inequality in the country, which has caused poverty and disadvantages among women.