At least 164 detained in Noruz demonstrations in Istanbul
A Turkish policeman runs after an explosion on the pedestrian Istiklal avenue in Istanbul on March 19, 2016. (AFP/Bulent Kilic)
At least 164 people were detained during unauthorized demonstrations to mark Noruz, the Persian new year also celebrated among Kurds, in Istanbul Sunday, according to Turkish security sources.
Noruz celebrations were banned across Turkey due to security concerns amid fresh military operations in the southeast.
In Istanbul, police intervened when groups burnt tires and attacked security personnel with fireworks and Molotov cocktails during demonstrations in several districts of the port city.
Out of the 164 people held, 12 were under 18 years of age.
Police also said they seized 152 Molotovs, inflammable materials, improvised explosive device materials, construction work gloves and balaclavas.
Police also detained 44 people between Friday and Saturday during Noruz-related gatherings; 15 of them were formally arrested.
Noruz marks the beginning of spring and has been celebrated in many parts of the world, including the Balkans, the Black Sea, the Caucasus, and most parts of Asia, including Iran for hundreds of years.
Last Wednesday, local officials in the country's southeastern provinces of Mus, Batman, Bingol, Tunceli and Sirnak said Noruz restrictions would be imposed due to security reasons.
Turkish forces have been engaged in a military operation against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the largely Kurdish southeast Turkey since a ceasefire fell apart last July. Turkey has also seen a number of bombings and attacks throughout the country, some of which have been carried out by Kurdish militants.