Curfew reimposed on Kurdish city in Turkey after 36 hours

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Istanbul (dpa) – An internationally condemned curfew that had been lifted on a predominantly Kurdish town in south-eastern Turkey was reinstated Sunday, 36 hours after being lifted.

The curfew in Cizre went back into force at 7 pm (1600 GMT) and will be in effect until further notice, the DHA news agency reported, shortly after Turkish police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of pro-Kurdish demonstrators as they rallied in central Istanbul.

The protesters were marching down Istiklal Avenue, the city’s main shopping street, chanting anti-government slogans and holding signs that said “Peace” when riot police moved in.

It was unclear what prompted the police action.

The round-the-clock curfew had been imposed initially on Cizre on September 4 after clashes between the authorities and the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Residents of the city of 120,000 people were not allowed to leave their homes for nine days until the restrictions were lifted at 7 am Saturday.

A renewed conflict with the PKK, which kicked off in July after a two-year ceasefire collapsed, has inflamed tensions in Turkey and led to the deaths of 200 people.

The PKK is seeking greater autonomy and civil rights for Turkey’s Kurdish minority.

Amnesty International said the Cizre curfew had included “the cutting of mobile phone signals, the blocking of roads, preventing anyone from entering or leaving the city, and reported cuts to water and electricity.”

There were also reported disruptions to basic health care services.

Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Friday had ruled the curfew could continue.

Curfews and other restrictions on movement imposed by the security forces are in place in various south-eastern districts.

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