Thousands protest against conviction of opposition lawmaker in Istanbul

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-15 19:34:59|Editor: Zhang Dongmiao
Video PlayerClose

ISTANBUL, June 15 (Xinhua) -- Thousands of people on Thursday rallied against the conviction of main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) lawmaker Enis Berberoglu in central Istanbul for leaking information on alleged delivery of weaponry to Syria by Turkey's intelligence unit.

The crowds gathering at Macka Park were protesting against what they called "anti-democratic and unfair regulations" imposed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development Party in the wake of a failed coup in July last year.

"Justice!" read a black banner carried by the demonstrators. "We will win by resisting!" the crowd shouted. "We shall fight shoulder to shoulder against fascism."

In the meantime, CHP Chairman Kemal Kilicdaroglu started his march from Ankara, the national capital, to Istanbul in protest against the conviction.

Berberoglu was sentenced to 25 years in jail on Wednesday by an Istanbul court for providing a Turkish daily with video purporting to show Turkey's intelligence agency trucking weapons to Syria in early 2014. He is the first CHP lawmaker to be handed prison time.

The protest in Macka Park is expected to continue till the arrival of Kilicdaroglu and his followers, who are planning to finish their 450-km-long march in 28 days.

The investigation and crackdown are continuing in the aftermath of the coup attempt, in which nearly 250 people were killed, with tens of thousands already detained or dismissed from their posts over alleged links to terror organizations.