Newly emerged video footage shows the moment Turkish police used excessive force against a group of Kurds in a coffeshop in Van province. The victims were reportedly targeted by the police beacuse they were among the hundreds of Kurds who gathered in front of the Van Municipal building to protest the Turkish government’s removal of the mayors who were elected in the most recent local elections that were held on 31 March 2019.

The Interior Ministry on Monday removed the mayors of Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van for alleged ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the US. The PKK has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast for more than three decades.

Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies attended protests in İstanbul, Ankara and Diyarbakır.

Protests were held in at least five cities.

All three mayors were elected with a majority of votes in the March 31 election. Diyarbakır Mayor Adnan Selcuk Mızraklı garnered 63 percent of the vote, while Mardin Mayor Ahmet Türk had 56 percent and Van mayor Bedia Özgökçe Ertan received 54 percent.