Turkish police knock protesting opposition MP out of wheelchair

Turkish police knock protesting opposition MP out of wheelchair
2 min read
23 December, 2020
Musa Piroglu was protesting against the jailing of veteran Kurdish politician Leyla Guven when he was knocked over.
Musa Piroglu is an MP for the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party [Getty]
Turkish police knocked an opposition lawmaker out of his wheelchair on Tuesday as he protested against the jailing of a Kurdish former MP.

Video footage of the demonstration against the 22-year sentence handed down to former lawmaker Leyla Guven showed police officers grappling with wheelchair-bound deputy, Musa Piroglu as he attempted to make his way through a crowd.

The footage shared on social media shows Piroglu on the ground after being pushed from his wheelchair.

Piroglu is a member of parliament for the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP).

The Istanbul MP had joined the demonstration in Turkey's largest city a day after Guven was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison over allegations of links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

Turkey deems the militant group, which has fought an on-off insurgency against the Turkish state since the early '80s, a terrorist organisation.

Veteran Kurdish politician Guven served as an MP for the southeastern district of Hakkari until being stripped of her parliamentary immunity in June.

A number of people were detained during Tuesday's protest against Guven's arrest, local media reported.

Among those detained were the HDP's Istanbul co-chairs.

The left-wing, pro-Kurdish party has been plagued by arrests and other legal issues in recent years.

The HDP's former co-leaders, Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag, were arrested in 2016 on terror charges after the Turkish parliament voted to lift the parliamentary immunity of most of the party's members.

Dozens of HDP members have since been detained over allegations of ties to the PKK.

The government has also removed dozens of HDP mayors from their seats across the country since last year's local elections, replacing them with unelected state appointees.

Of the 65 HDP mayors elected in 2019, 48 have been replaced by unelected officials. Many of them have been detained on terror charges, which they deny.

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