At least seven women were detained on Sunday when as many as 300 women staged a protest in Istanbul during which a rendition of the feminist protest song “A rapist in your path” was performed, news reports said.
The T24 news portal reported that the Turkish police carried out the detentions after protesters staged the dance performance created by the Chilean feminist group “Las Tesis.”
They were protesting against femicide, sexual assault and sexual abuse of women, impunity, and state oppression.
According to the Spanish news agency EFE, at least 300 women took part in the protest in Istanbul’s Kadikoy district.
Sunday’s demonstration was organized by the Women’s Assembly, one of Turkey’s leading women’s rights organizations, which posted a video on its Twitter account on Saturday of Turkish women rehearsing the choreography and learning the words of the performance originated in Chile.
Yarınki buluşmamıza hazırlanmanız için Türkçe sözleri ve hareketleriyle videomuzu paylaşıyoruz.
Elden ele yayalım, yarına çalışıp gelelim 👇
— Kadın Meclisleri (@kadinmeclisleri) December 7, 2019
Among the detained protestors were the We Will End Femicide Platform’s secretary-general Fidan Ataselim and Aysen Ece Kavas, a member of the Women’s Assembly.
The Istanbul Governor’s Office on Sunday said in a statement that the detentions were carried out because the protesters’ performance involved chanting slogans that “constitute a crime.”
The performance involves blindfolded women standing in long lines dancing and chanting the words of an anthem called “Un violador en tu camino,” which is translated in English as “A rapist in your way.”
The anthem accuses the patriarchy of being responsible for the violence committed against women, and the subsequent victim-shaming women face from society.
Therefore, the protesters point their fingers at “the cops, the judges, the state, the president” while chanting these lyrics as part of the performance.
“The aforementioned group [of protesters] was told what they were doing was a crime and they were given a reasonable time to stop the demonstration and disperse. … Seven individuals who resisted security officials were detained on orders of the public prosecutor,” the statement further noted.
The Women’s Assembly also shared video footage of the moments when Turkish police intervened Sunday’s protest, saying, “You cannot stop the struggle of women! We are everywhere! We will stop femicides!”
Kadın cinayetlerini durduracağız! pic.twitter.com/l3WAUpk0D6
— Kadın Meclisleri (@kadinmeclisleri) December 8, 2019
The Las Tesis feminist group’s performance protesting against the gender-based violence in Chile was performed in front of the country’s ministry for women’s rights and gender equality on November 25.
It has since gone global and similar demonstrations were held in a number of countries including Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, and Spain.
A report by the We Will End Femicide Platform released earlier this month indicates that at least 430 women were killed in Turkey in the first 11 months of 2019.