Tens of thousands at Turkish opposition's 'justice' rally in Istanbul

Tens of thousands at Turkish opposition's 'justice' rally in Istanbul

Istanbul (AFP) - Tens of thousands of people on Sunday massed for a rally of Turkey's main opposition party in Istanbul, the biggest protest event in several years by critics of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

A sea of people filled the vast shoreside square in Maltepe on the Asian side of Istanbul for the rally marking the end of a 450-kilometre (280-mile) "justice march" from Ankara to Istanbul by Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, an AFP correspondent said.

Kilicdaroglu began the 25-day trek to protest the arrest of one of his MPs and it rapidly grew into a major march protesting alleged injustices under Erdogan's rule.

"Nobody should think this march is the last one. It's the first step," Kilicdaroglu told the crowds who roared back with the word "Justice!".

"Everyone should know very well that July 9 is a new step, a new history... a new birth," he added.

The rally is by far the biggest by the opposition seen in Istanbul since the mass May-June 2013 demonstrations against Erdogan's rule sparked by the planned redevelopment of Gezi Park in the city.

Usually, only Erdogan himself can mobilise crowds on this scale with glitzy rallies and the president himself had in the past held mass meetings in the Maltepe meeting area.