Anti-Erdogan rally ends ‘justice’ march

Hundreds of thousands of people have gathered in Istanbul at the end of a 450km (280-mile) “justice” march against the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Large numbers joined the march since it began in Ankara on 15 June.

Opposition and protest leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu criticised the wave of arrests and imprisonments that followed last year’s failed coup.

President Erdogan has accused the marchers of supporting terrorism.

He said the Mr Kilicdaroglu’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) – which has organised the march – had gone beyond political opposition and was “acting with terrorist organisations and the forces inciting them against our country”.

The rally was the biggest show of defiance against President Erdogan since the Gezi Park protests four years ago.

Mr Kilicdaroglu accused the government of taking advantage of the coup attempt on 15 July last year to seize the authority of parliament and pass executive, legislative and judicial powers to one man.

He said the rally marked “a new birth”.

“Nobody should think this march is the last one. It’s the first step!” he said.

He launched the march after one of his MPs, Enis Berberoglu, was arrested for allegedly leaking documents purporting to show that the government was arming jihadists in Syria.

Mr Berberoglu denies the charge. Sunday’s rally drew a sea of people to an area close to the jail in which he is being held.