Hundreds of Turkish women marched in the country's biggest city of Istanbul on Saturday (July 29), in protest against violence and animosity they say they have faced from men demanding they dress more conservatively. Mia Womersley reports.
Hundreds of Turkish women took to the streets of Istanbul on Saturday... Protesting against violence and animosity from men who demand they dress more conservatively. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH DEMONSTRATOR, NURCAN UCAR, SAYING: "We took to the streets against rapes and sexual assaults in our country. We are talking. We will not remain silent and we don't want to stop. We want to put an end to these incidents. Therefore I call on all women to take to the streets and I support them in defending themselves." The march was dubbed 'Don't Mess With My Outfit'. Women carried denim shorts on hangers as examples of the type of clothing some men say they find unacceptable. Protesters say there has been an increasing number of verbal and physical attacks against women recently for their choice of clothing. Istanbul has long been seen as a relatively liberal city. But critics say President Tayyip Erdogan and his Islamist-rooted AK Party have shown little interest in expanding rights for minorities, gays and women. Since Erdogan took office nearly 15 years ago, restrictions on wearing the headscarf have been eased. More women in the mainly Muslim country have chosen to wear it. (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) TURKISH DEMONSTRATOR, MERVE, SAYING: "As you see my friend is not wearing a headscarf but I do. I have the right to dress freely as much as she does. Nobody can mess with their mini skirts and shorts just like they can't mess with our headscarves. If she can wear whatever she wants so can I." Saturday's march was joined by several members of the gay and transgender community. That after Istanbul's pride march was banned by authorities late in June.