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Ankara to Istanbul protest march enters final stretch

Tens of thousands have taken part in the so-called "march for justice", which began on June the 15th

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Ankara to Istanbul protest march enters final stretch

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An opposition protest march winding its way from Ankara to Istanbul is now entering its final stretch.

Tens of thousands have taken part in the so-called “march for justice”, a 430-kilometre journey that began on June the 15th.

Opposition figure Sezgin Tanrıkulu, an Istanbul MP for the CHP party, told Euronews: “The arrest of an MP was the straw that broke the camel’s back. That’s why we started this movement.

“From the beginning we said this is not just about our party (CHP), this is for everyone who is seeking justice.”

“There are many deputies, mayors, journalists and academics in jail,” he said. “Thousands of victims.”

“Of course there are state of emergency measures that allow these situations. We started this march for the victims of these actions. And we have support from different sectors.”

The controversial purge in Turkey, which followed a failed coup last summer, has resulted in the sackings and suspensions of tens of thousands of people and thousands of arrests in the public service, police and academic institutions.

The marchers accuse the government of trying to create a one-party state in the wake of the coup attempt.

Tanrıkulu told Euronews: “Of course, we know we won’t have democracy and justice in Turkey at the end of this march.

“But we’ll continue to protest against this anti-democratic way that Turkey is going, in the parliament, in the streets, every civilian platform, without violence, in a peaceful way.”

The head of the opposition CHP party has lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights over a vote that granted President Erdogan more powers in April.

Members of the pro-Kurdish HDP party, the third largest in parliament, also joined the march this week.

The protest was organised after the jailing of the MP Enis Berberoglu for 25 years on charges of espionage.

The politician was the first MP jailed in the government crackdown in the wake of the coup.