Multiple events to mark International Women's Day are being organized in Istanbul on Sunday, March 8. The annual Feminist Night March is scheduled to begin at 19:00 (local time) in front of the French Consulate on Istiklal Avenue in Beyoğlu district. However, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu announced on Thursday, March 5, that the demonstrators are prohibited from marching down Istiklal Avenue but would be able to hold the event in other parts of the city. It is unclear if the organizers will continue the march as planned despite the restrictions issued by Soylu. Clashes between security forces and demonstrators are possible if the ban is ignored.
Other events will be held throughout the city, including a rally with the families of murdered women is scheduled to be held in Beşiktaş Barbaros Square starting at 16:00. Another group is planning to start an event at 14:00 in Kadıköy.
Associated rallies and marches are expected to be held in major cities across Turkey on Sunday. A heightened police presence and localized traffic disruptions are anticipated around all events.
Security forces used tear gas and plastic bullets to disperse crowds during the 2019 Feminist Night March in Istanbul after the demonstrators refused a government ban on marching down Istiklal Avenue.
International Women's Day is celebrated each year in numerous countries on March 8 to push forward women's right and to highlight inequalities in between men and women. Feminist Night marches are organized in Istanbul since 2003 to celebrate this event.
Individuals in Istanbul, and Turkey more generally, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, avoid all demonstrations as a precaution, anticipate a heightened security presence and localized transportation disruptions, and adhere to all instructions issued by local authorities.