Thousands of Turkish citizens took part in the funeral of Tahir Elci, a human rights activist and head of the Diyarbekr Bar Association.

Tahir Elci

Tahir Elci

Reuters reports that representatives of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) and other members of the bar association participated in the funeral held on Sunday November 29 in Diyarbekr.

Selahattin Demirtas, the HDP co-chair, spoke at the funeral, saying: “Elci is a victim of a political murder.”

Elci was facing trial for having told journalists that he believes PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, is not a terrorist organization as the Turkish government insists. On Saturday, he was shot during an armed conflict between police and a number of armed assailants.

Ahmet Elci, the deceased lawyer’s brother, insists that Tahir Elci was a target. He said at the funeral: “As a Kurdish intellectual, he was slain by the state. We have seen this state murdering Kurdish intellectuals throughout history. But we will not give up and we will win.”

Elci’s death has triggered a new wave of protests. In Istanbul, protesters were met with tear gas from Turkish police.

In the predominantly Kurdish cities in the south of the country, curfews have been established.