Peace & Democracy Party co-chair calls for removal of Lice gendarmerie commander

DİYARBAKIR – 30.6.2013 – Hurriyet – The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) co-chair has called for the removal of the gendarmerie commander of Diyarbakır’s Lice district, where a clash between a group of villagers demonstrating against the construction of a gendarmerie facility and soldiers killed one and injured 10 yesterday.

“If the government believes there was a provocation, it should remove from duty the commander of the gendarmerie station. Those who instructed the opening of fire are not the demonstrators. The only group that used weapons are the security forces,” Selahattin Demirtaş told private broadcaster NTV today.

“The commander, the security forces, or whoever might have committed the provocations, should be removed from duty,” Demirtaş said, also urging the government to investigate the incident. “If they want reason, they should rely on justice and respect human rights.”

He also urged for “carefulness and sensitivity” over the tense situation in an area prone to conflict. “From the first minute we have called on our party members to be careful and to not engage in provocations. But protesting is a right and the state should open the way for it instead of preventing it,” he said, referring to the protest of the Kayacık villagers in Lice over the construction of a gendarmerie facility. “In Lice, people have been shot from behind. Why are the gendarmerie station constructions so urgent? In this critical process our party members will stay away from provocations,” Demirtaş added. Demirtaş also questioned the construction of gendarmerie posts. “Why does the government pay for 134 new [police and gendarmerie] posts if it trusts the [peace] process? The village does not have any infrastructure or sanitation. The investment should go there from now on,” he said. Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Spokesman Hüseyin Çelik yesterday and Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay today have denied that new post constructions were underway. Both officials said that works were engaged for renewing the old facilities and blamed “provocations” for the clashes.