Thousands of Turks and Kurds are expected to hold rival demonstrations next week when the European Court of Human Rights hears an appeal from Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan against his condemnation to death by Turkey, local officials said Thursday.
Authorities here are preparing special security measures surrounding three protest marches planned for Tuesday, when the European Human Rights court is set to consider the receivability of the case lodged by Ocalan against Turkey.
A local Kurd organization said some 15,000 people were expected to demonstrate in support of Ocalan, who was condemned to death by Turkey in June 1999 on charges of treason and murder.
Several thousand people were expected at two counter-demonstrations against Ocalan, former leader of the separatist Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK), officials said.
The demonstrations will be kept apart and will not be allowed near the court, they said.
Ocalan, who was captured by Turkish agents in Kenya early last year, has taken his case to the Strasbourg-based court to challenge those articles in Turkish law that allow for the death penalty.
Turkey has suspended the sentence to grant the European judges enough time to decide whether Ocalan's case is receivable and well-founded -- STRASBOURG, France (AFP)
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