İZMİR - İzmir Bar Association lawyers on June 29 attempted to stage a protest march defying the government’s legislation. However, the police prevented them from doing so, placing barricades in front of the bar association’s building in the Alsancak district. The lawyers said that they will stage a sit-in protest until the barricades are lifted to allow them march to Kıbrıs Şehitleri Avenue.
İzmir Bar Association head Özkan Yücel told the police to “act in line with the law” as the right to stage protests is secured by the Constitution. “You [the police] are committing crime. You do not have the right to do this to İzmir, to Turkey,” Yücel told the police at the scene of the incident.
“Like in Ankara, until the police barricades are lifted, we are not going anywhere. We will continue to stay here,” Yücel said.
Following Yücel’s remarks, the police addressed the lawyers through a megaphone saying: “We are struggling with the coronavirus, you are putting the society’s health in danger.”
A group of senior lawyers on June 19 launched a Defense March against the government’s legislation attempting to weaken bar associations. They planned to end their march at Ankara’s Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
On June 22, Ankara police stopped the march by barricading a highway leading to the city, and footage showed the heads of bar associations being pushed and jostled by police.
The lawyers started a sit-in protest following the blockade.
The Interior Ministry eventually early on June 23 allowed bar heads to continue their march to Ankara following a 26-hour-long stand-off.