News from the Revolution in Rojava and Wider Kurdistan
(ANF) Following the death on March 11th of 15-year old Berkin Elvan, who was shot by the police with a teargas canister when he was out to buy bread during the Gezi protests last June, protests have been staged all across Kurdistan. .
In Amed, students from Dicle University marched with the slogans “Berkin Elvan is immortal”, “Berkin’s murderer is the AKP police” and “Kurdistan will be the grave for fascism”, carrying slogans that read “With what conscience will you be eating bread, Tayyip?”, “What we are holding is bread, not a sling”. The students were interrupted by the police when they tried to open a stand to distribute the newspapers ‘Azadiya Welat’, ‘Özgür Gündem’ and ‘Demokratik Ulus’.
About a thousand students then moved onto the Hevsel Gardens, chanting slogans. Following a stand in silence, Burhan Ativ made an announcement on behalf of the students:
“The youth in Hevsel Gardens marks a beginning for the expansion of the leadership and resistance. We have to safeguard and carry the spirit that started with Gezi, through Hevsel, with a commitment to Berkin’s memory.”
In the Nusaybin district of Mardin, KESK made a press announcement at the Barış Parkı. Carrying banners that read “Berkin Elvan is immortal”, “We promise you we will resist”, “Uğur Kaymaz 12, Ceylan Önkol 14, Ali İsmail 19, Berkin Elvan 15”, the district administrators of the BDP, Nusaybin mayor Ayşe Gökkan, Nusaybin co-mayor candidates Sara Kaya and Cengiz Kök, activists from the Peace Mothers Initiatives, Representative of DİSK Labour Union Mehmet Sakin, consituents of KESK and students protested Berkin’s loss by chanting slogans.
In Siirt, members of the Siirt University Botan Democratic Students Association (BDÖ-DER) made an announcement. They underlined that the mindset behind the death of the 12-year old Uğur Kaymaz at Kızıltepe, and Ceylan Önkol in Lice was at play in the Gezi resistance. They drew attention to the fact that in Turkey, now infamously called “the country of dead children”, Berkin was the 576th child to be murdered by the state. It was emphasized that the Botan youth would not let a 577th child to be murdered.
BDP District Organization in Kurtalanm joined by activists from BDP Kurtalan Women’s Assembly, BDP Kurtalan co-mayor candidate Necat Yılmaz, members of the mayor’s assembly and a crowd, made a press announcement.
Speaking on behalf of the District Organization of the BDP in Kurtalan, Hüseyin Karataş said, “The Prime Ministers has to account himself. Since yesterday, there have been protests all around the country in the memory of Elvan. Today, the PM has a demonstration and Siirt; he took his clerks, labourers and supporters with school buses to Siirt. Erdoğan should not forget that AKP will be left as a name on the banner in Kurdistan”. Pointing out that there have been increasing attacks against HDP all around Turkey, Karataş continued, “we will bring those who are responsible for Ceylan, Uğur, Medeni, Berkin as well as the attacks against HDP into account”.
In the Bitlis Eren University, the students marched in the campus and made an announcement at the gates. They announced a 3-day lament in the memory of all defenders of democracy who lost their lives through police violence during the Gezi Resistance.
In Urfa, KESK Urfa Branches Platform organized a press conference in front of the Karakoyun Business Center. Mahmut Keklik, President of the Eğitim Sen Urfa Branch said, “During the Gezi resistance our youngsters in their 20s, and Berkin who was 15 and was down to 16 kilograms were shot by the police the Prime Minister called ‘heroes’. Berkin fell victim to a struggle that lasted for 269 days. Berkin lost his life due to fascist pressures, state and the unproportional force of its police. “We promise we will not let this go until all those responsible, including the Prime Minister, are rendered accountable.”
In Viranşehir members of Eğitim Sen and SES staged a protest. The protestors carried banners with the pictures of Elvan, Ceylan Önkol and Uğur Kaymaz, with the slogans “There’s a murderer, the state killed us, There’s only silence when the children are asleep”. Eğitim Sen Viranşehir Representative Celil Çelebi sent his condolences to Elvan’s family and said, “The murderer is the police”. The attacks against HDP were also renounced.
In Hatay, members of the Democratic Patriotic Students Assembly (DEM-YÖM) gathered in the Engineering Faculty of Mustafa Kemal University. Speaking on behalf of DEM-YÖM, Umut Timarcin said, “15 year old Berkin Elvan fell down from 45 kilos to 16 in a struggle of 269 days. Berkin lost his life despite all attempts, and his murderers are out there.”
The Labour and Democracy Platform in Antep organized a symbolic funeral for Berkin Elvan. Thousands, including members of BDP, EMEP, ESP, ÖSP, ÖDP, TKP, HDP, İHD, Antep Platform of Union of Struggle (Mücadele Birliği) gathered in front of the Alevi Cultural Association. Led by Alevi dedes, they did their religious duty. Later, the crowd marched for 3 kms along the Titizler and Sadıklar avenues, carrying Berkin’s pictures and a banner that read “Berkin Elvan is immortal”, chanting, “Shoulder to shoulder against fascism”, “Berkin’s murderer is AKP’s police”, “We will win by resisting”, and “From Roboskî to Taksim murderer AKP”.
In Malatya, a youngster staged a sit-in in the memory of Berkin Elvan. He posted a banner that read “Name: Berkin, Surname: Elvan, Age: 15, Weight: 16” in front of a dershane advertisement. Declining to give his name, he said he is just 18 years old and he is doing this for Berkin.
In Nurhak, a youngster started a sit-in in front of the AKP Central Election Bureau with a banner that read “Berkin Elvan is immortal”. Nurhak High School Students Union paid a visit and supported the protest. Blocking the entrance to AKP’s bureau, they chanted, “This is only the beginning, continue the struggle!”