PHOTO: The crowd in Ankara’s Sıhhiye Square on Sunday (Reuters)
Thousands of marchers gathered in Turkey’s capital Ankara on Sunday, near the scene of a double suicide bombing which killed up to 128 people assembling for a peace rally the previous day.
Many of the marchers in Sıhhiye Square chanted anti-government slogans such as “Murderer [President Recep Tayyip) Erdoğan” and “Murderer police”. Riot police and water cannon vehicles blocked the highway leading to the district where Parliament and Government buildings are located.
The co-chair of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (HDP), whose members were targeted in the attack, has blamed the Government and compared the bombings to the June assault on an HDP rally and a July suicide explosion — attributed to the Islamic State — which killed 33 young activists.
Tensions were further inflamed on Saturday when police were accused of using water cannon and batons to clear people from the scene of the bombing.
There were no claims of responsibility for the attack, although a pro-Government newspaper said a male suspect in his late 20s had been identified.
Hours after the bombing, the Kurdish insurgency PKK confirmed the order to its fighters — issued on Friday — to halt attacks. The organization said it would avoid acts that could hinder a “fair and just election” on November 1.
Footage of the scene of Saturday’s attack (Warning — Graphic):