Turkish police block Women’s Day march in central Istanbul

March marking International Women's Day in Istanbul
People react as police try to disperse a march marking International Women's Day in Istanbul, Turkey, March 8, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Turkish police blocked a crowd of a few hundred women who gathered in central Istanbul on Sunday evening for a march to celebrate International Women’s Day.

Reuters reporters saw the crowd of women at the edge of the city’s Taksim Square holding banners and waving flags. The police formed a human blockade to stop them from entering Istiklal Street, the district’s main pedestrian avenue.

Istabul’s governor Ali Yerlikaya decided to close down Taksim metro station and parts of nearby Sishane station and said all roads leading to main square should be blocked.

“All roads leading to Taksim Square and Istiklal Street will be closed as these places are not classified as designated areas for assembly and demonstrations according to law,” the governor’s office said in a statement.

Last year, on International Women’s Day, the police fired tear gas to break up a crowd of women who had gathered for a march.