A riot erupted inside of a prison in Batman, south-eastern Turkey, on Saturday night, shortly after the Turkish parliament’s justice committee approved a bill that would release thousands of prisoners due to the COVID-19 outbreak, while leaving political prisoners behind bars.

The bill, which still has to be voted on by parliament to become law, would grant early parole and house arrest for a variety of categories of prisoners, whilst excluding political prisoners and journalists according to its opponents.

Footage captured from outside of the prison shows crowds of people, as well as police and army vehicles and personnel in front of the complex.

Additionally, smoke can be seen rising from the building, as inmates reportedly started fires upon hearing the news.

Many prisoners jailed in Batman, a Kurdish-majority city, are members of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), including former party leader Selahattin Demirtas.

Credit: Ruptly

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