A group that wanted to protest F-type prison conditions in front of the Justice Ministry in Ankara on Friday was prevented from doing so, with police taking 19 people into custody after scuffles broke out.
A small group calling itself the Rights and Freedoms Front gathered in Kýzýlay at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, shouting slogans such as "Isolation continues with the Justice and Development Party" and "Stop the isolation and stop the deaths."
F-type prisons are those with cells that house only a few inmates, while others usually house 20 to 30. In the past criminals with similar backgrounds were put in the same cells, with prison authorities losing control as a result, and the new F-type prisons were built to solve this. However, hunger strikes and violence erupted when inmates refused to be moved to the F-type prisons. Opponents claim F-type prisons allow prison authorities to mistreat and abuse inmates.
The group’s spokesperson said they have been protesting F-type prisons for the past three years with hunger strikes, adding that Serhat Demirel, who had set himself on fire while in the Sincan F-type prison a while ago, passed away on Tuesday.
The group later started to walk towards the Justice Ministry but was prevented from reaching the building by a police blockade.
The group tried to bypass the blockade, but police used pepper spray to disperse them. The police called on the group to make their press statement and disperse, but the group continued to try to push their way through the blockade.
Nineteen members of the group were taken into custody in the ensuing scuffles.
(Turkish Daily News, January 14, 2006)