Authorities launched an investigation against workers who began holding sit-in demonstrations after they were fired from Roseteks Company without receiving any severance pay or salary. The police consequently rounded them up from their homes without any prior legal notice.
The workers are now facing charges of "making threats, blackmail, restraining the freedom to work" and violating Law No: 2911 on Assembly and Demonstrations.
The fact that the police forcibly took the workers from their homes and brought them to the police station without any prior legal notice is against the law, the workers' lawyers also said when they appealed to the prosecutor's office on Tuesday.
They further requested the removal of Prosecutor Hasan Özberk from the case and his replacement with another prosecutor.
"Trying to intimidate us"
Yasemin Coşar, one of the 300 textile workers fired on March 8, said officials once more arrived from the prosecutor's office on Tuesday and requested her to come and testify. Police had first raided her home on Sunday.
"They are trying to intimidate and browbeat us so that we give up. They are disturbing our family," she said.
30 of the workers sacked on March 8 have been holding sit-in demonstrations for four weeks between 19:30 and 21:30 in Istanbul's Levent district before the Köşebaşı Restaurant operated by Roseteks owners Nedim Aşkın and Bülent Temuroğlu.
They have also been holding sit-in protests for two weeks before the restaurant's branch in Istanbul's Nişantaşı district as well between 17:00 and 18:30.
"Two undercover police officers knocked on the door on Sunday morning and said that I had to come to the police station to testify. They said I would know the reason when I asked them why. This is the first time I encountered such a thing in my life. The police arrived on our door for the first time," Coşar said.
Law enforcement officials also brought worker Ali Yağcı to the police station to testify both on Monday and Tuesday.
Both Yağcı and Coşar were asked to sign a petition indicating they had commited the crimes in question.
Lawyer Şükriye Erden announced there were formal complaints against 21 workers, and that the prosecutor's office had issued the request for the police to take their testimonies.
She said the procedure ran against the 145th article of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CMK) and requested the replacement of Prosecutor Özberk on the grounds he was not running the investigation "fairly and impartially."
Roseteks workers will continue holding their demonstrations in Nişantaşı and Levent on this weekend, too. (AS)