ISTANBUL, Turkey: Turkish police detained two women believed to have flashed an obscene hand gesture at Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in an anti-government protest, local media reported on Sunday.
The detention came after Erdogan lashed out at an unidentified woman for making an “ugly” hand gesture as he was on his way to an election rally in the western city of Izmir.
“You did this when the prime minister of this country was passing by. I would understand if it was a man, but I do not understand how a woman could do it,” he told the huge crowd of supporters.
Following Erdogan’s remarks, police detained two women on charges of “insulting a statesman,” Hurriyet newspaper reported.
The second woman reportedly made her gesture from a nearby balcony.
Erdogan has faced street protests since a corruption scandal erupted in mid-December, implicating his key allies and posing the biggest challenge to his 12-year rule ahead of local elections on March 30.
Izmir, a port city on the Aegean coast, is seen as a bastion of secularism where Islamic parties fare poorly.
Turkish riot police fired water cannons at a group of protesters who said they did not want the prime minister in their city and chanted, “Tayyip, the thief.”