Istanbul Bans Planned Anti-IS 'Peace March'

The Istanbul authorities on Saturday banned a planned anti-jihadist "peace march" scheduled to take place in the Turkish metropolis this weekend, citing security and traffic congestion.

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) has hoped to rally thousands on Sunday for the protest to condemn violence by Islamic State (IS) jihadists following a suicide bombing on Monday that killed 32.

But the Istanbul governor's office said in a statement that the rally had been banned due to "intense traffic" expected in the city and also "provocations" endangering security.

The HDP confirmed in a statement that it had been forced to cancel the rally but vowed that "our struggle for peace and democracy will continue."

There are been several anti-IS protests in Istanbul and other cities since Monday's bombing, often gathering hundreds of people. But many have been dispersed by police using water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas.

Demonstrators have also been bitterly critical of the Turkish government's policies on IS, accusing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of allowing the group to gain a foothold in the country.

It remains possible that protesters will try to defy the official ban and hold a march Sunday.

Source: Agence France Presse

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