November 5, 2016 / 4:18 PM / 3 years ago

Pro-Kurdish supporters march in Greece against arrests in Turkey

A Kurdish woman living in Greece holds a photo of arrested HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, during a demonstration against the Turkish government following the arrests of pro-Kurdish officials in Turkey, in Athens, Greece, November 5, 2016. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

ATHENS (Reuters) - About 1,000 Kurds and pro-Kurdish supporters marched to the Turkish embassy in Athens on Saturday, chanting “Fascist Erdogan!” to protest against the detention of Kurdish leaders in Turkey.

The leaders of Turkey’s pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) were jailed pending trial on Friday as part of a terrorism investigation, drawing condemnation in the West of a crackdown on dissent under President Tayyip Erdogan.

In Athens, demonstrators unfurled large Kurdish flags and held up banners depicting HDP co-leaders Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yuksekdag. “No to Erdogan’s dictatorship,” a banner read.

The representative of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Greece, Ibrahem Muslem, said the arrests were “an attack against democracy and humanity around the world.”

“We want freedom for Selahattin Demirtas,” said another protester, 23-year-old Levent.

Police in riot gear blocked the demonstrators from reaching the embassy.

On Saturday, Turkish authorities ordered the formal arrest of nine staff members of a leading opposition newspaper and detained more pro-Kurdish officials.

More than 110,000 officials, including judges, teachers, police and civil servants, have been detained or suspended following a failed coup in July.

Reporting by Gina Kalovyrna; Writing by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Stephen Powell

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