Diyarbakir, Turkey (CNN) — Smoke billowed over the ancient stone walls of Diyarbakir, as residents of this predominantly Kurdish city staged a citywide strike. Police armored vehicles patrolled streets strewn with garbage and burning tires left by Kurdish children, who threatened to hurl rocks at passing cars.
Nearly every shop in this provincial capital was shuttered and the atmosphere was tense, with riot police and special forces officers standing guard beside armored vehicles deployed at major intersections. There was a huge police presence in front of a municipal building where at least 22 Kurdish politicians, including several lawmakers from the main Kurdish nationalist party and the elected mayor of Diyarbakir, have been staging a hunger strike. “Either there will be a solution or there will be chaos,” said Gulten Kisanak, a lawmaker from the predominantly Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party who was on day seven of her hunger strike.