Turkish police used water cannons to disperse scores of Kurds protesting the recent removal of elected pro-Kurdish mayors in Van, Mardin and Diyarbakır provinces on the grounds that they have links to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Hundreds of Kurds gathered in fronto of the Diyarbakır Municipal building on Monday to protest the removals of the mayors who were elected in the most recent local elections that were held on 31 March 2019, from the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). In the elections, Diyarbakır Mayor Adnan Mızraklı received 63 percent, Mardin Mayor Ahmet Turk received 56 percent, Van Mayor Bedia Özgökçe received 54 percent of total votes.

According to the BBC News Turkçe, Diyarbakır mayor was replaced with current Diyarbakır Governor Hasan Basri Güzeloğlu. Mardin Mayor was replaced by the current Mardin Governor Mustafa Yaman and Van mayor was replaced by the current Van governor Mehmet Emin Bilmez.

According to the Turkish authorities, the dismissed mayors support the PKK and the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), which are considered twrrorist organizations in Turkey.