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Justice March Crosses 100-Mile Mark: Crowd continues to grow

By Oya Aktaş

The Justice March, which began 12 days ago, passed the 100-mile marker this weekend. The march has now covered over one third of the distance in its 270-mile journey from Ankara to Istanbul. According to BirGün’s news story, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, chairman of the CHP and chief organizer of the march, reiterated that he will travel the entire way by foot: “There will be no riding in cars. We believe that if you walk every centimeter on foot, the justice that you strive for will be achieved.”

On Sunday, the marchers rested outside of the city of Bolu in order to celebrate the first day of Bayram, or Eid. Kılıçdaroğlu expressed his hope that Bayram would bring “peace, tranquility, and welfare” to the country, as well as his conviction that the Justice March would bring deeper meaning to Bayram. He furthered: “I do not enjoy speaking of Turkey with tense, polarizing rhetoric. Our common desire is a Turkey that lives together, debates civilly, and unites. That is the fundamental goal of this march.”

Kılıçdaroğlu also highlighted one of the core groups for whom the march seeks justice by thanking risk-taking journalists for their sacrifice: “Many of our journalist friends, who sit in prison, know that they were jailed unjustly… But you are members of the press, and you continue to enlighten the public. Politicians owe you their gratitude. To all of my journalist friends in jail, I would like to especially wish them a happy bayram.”

Participants share photos from Justice March on social media. (random)

Kılıçdaroğlu additionally implored two jailed teachers, on the 108th day of their hunger strike, to spare their own lives: “You only want to amend the injustice that you have been subject to, and we support you. Without questions or reservations…It is my hope that your injustice will be resolved shortly. Consequently, I’m asking our two friends to end their hunger strike. Do not destroy your lives—you have taken on a very grave duty. Do not end your lives.”

The second largest opposition party, the HDP, has announced that they will be greeting the protestors in Kocaeli, according to a report on OdaTV. The location they chose is just over 5 miles from the Kandıra F Type Closed Penitentiary, where HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ is being held. Although the HDP expects the march to continue past Istanbul to Edirne, where HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş is detained, the CHP has not indicated widespread support for this extension. Consequently, rather than join the entire march, the HDP has decided to greet the Justice March when it arrive in Istanbul, and has been supporting local events that promote the march.

According to local press, so far Kılıçdaroğlu completed 181 km and total distance is 432 km. The Justice March is now expected to last 28 days.

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