The families of the hunger strikers have engaged in a variety of activities to raise awareness of the situation of the prisoners, such as protests, rallies, sit-ins, press statements, and hunger strikes. They have stepped up their actions since a group of prisoners announced to go on death fast last week.
This week, a demonstration was held in Diyarbakır, Bağlar, in Koşuyolu Park by the relatives of the hunger strikers to draw attention to the hunger strikes and the death fasts.
The Turkish authorities have attacked Kurdish mothers, who staged a sit-in to protest the silence over their hunger striking children in prison. Police who intervened to the demonstration, battered the mothers and dragged them on the floor. Mothers who reacted to the police, said they will never leave their children alone. In the videos distributed on social media, the women can be heard chanting: “Our children are dying” and “You cannot silence us”.
A similar incident happened in Bakirköy, where elderly women were dragged on the floor by the authorities as they demanded an end to the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan.
In the same week, family members of prisoners who are on hunger strikes protesting the isolation imposed upon Öcalan were to hold a press statement in front of the Batman Type M Prison, but the police prevented the families and attacked the relatives.
HDP Deputy Province Co-chairs Gulcemal Erdinc and Ikram Irgi, Province Administrator Mahir Beklevis, Muazzes Yagiz (mother of hunger striker Nasir Yagiz, who is on a hunger strike in Hewler), as well as 21 relatives of prisoners whose names could not be ascertained at the moment.
Mothers also gathered in front of the Van prison as well to hold a press statement on the hunger strikes and the death fasts. 13 persons including mothers who read the statement were detained as the police dragged them on the ground.
The detained mothers were not allowed to capture video or photo as they read the statement and 2 persons recording the incident were also detained. The arrested individuals were taken to the Van Police Directorate.
The Turkish authorities have in the past demonstrated their lack of restraint to attack elderly women of the Peace Mothers and Saturday Mothers. The most recent assault has caused outrage in social media outlets and was condemned by wide sections of the public.
Mother Sulhiye Saruhan, who was battered by the police in Diyarbakir, said that the health her son Mahsun Saruhan who joined the hunger strike action on March 1, is deteriorating. Saruhan who stated that she was battered and insulted by the police, said that her arms were all bruised. Despite being battered for demanding peace, she said their struggle will continue.
Remziye Alan, mother of Mazlum Alan, who has been on hunger strike since March 1 in Diyarbakır Type D Closed Prison, said that she was battered by a female police officer. Alan, who stated that the female police pulled her hair and dragged her on the floor, said: “We do not accept this oppression. I can’t move my arms. I can’t imagine what our children are going through in prisons if they are this cruel to us here. This is an atrocity. We do not accept this tyranny. We will struggle until the isolation is removed and the people are free. We will not retreat.”