Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu plans to address a rally on July 9 at the end of a month-long “justice” march in which several thousand protesters walked from Ankara to Istanbul.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of the secular Republican People's Party (CHP), on July 8 said he helped organize the trek to bring to light “grave injustices and illegalities” in the country’s court system.
"Why do I walk? This 450-kilometer march has one goal: Justice," Kilicdaroglu, 69, said.
Supporters said the march, which began on June 15 in the capital Ankara, was organized to protest the arrest of a CHP lawmaker and the policies of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Murat Hazinedar, the mayor of Istanbul’s Besiktas district and a supporter of Kilicdaroglu, said, “There’s no option other than civil resistance. This is a warning.”
“Democracy is not going to function any longer. The judiciary is not functioning any longer,” he told Time magazine in an interview.
Since the failed coup of July 2016, some 50,000 people have been arrested under the country’s state of emergency. Some 100,000 have lost their jobs, including teachers, judges, soldiers, and police officers.
Organizers said the rally to mark the end of the march will likely be the largest opposition protests in Istanbul since mass demonstrations against Erdogan's rule in 2013.