Sometimes, all you need is love.
That’s what a group of protesters are using in the Turkish capital of Ankara, where dozens of people congregated Saturday to decry an announcement made by subway officials asking passengers to “act in accordance with moral rules.” Or more specifically, warning them to curb public displays of affection after a couple was spotted kissing on security footage.
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The Associated Press reports that more than 100 people flooded an Ankara metro station and puckered up for several minutes, waving signs emblazoned with phrases like “Free kisses.” A group of pro-Islamists staged a counterprotest in the same area, forcing riot police to eventually separate the groups. The new decree also sparked political backlash in the capital, as an opposition lawmaker questioned whether or not subway officials should be allowed to enforce such a rule.
Saturday’s heated protest comes on the heels of the Turkish parliament passing legislation limiting sales of alcohol. While the bill still requires approval from President Abdullah Gul, the measure, in addition to the new no-kissing rule, adds to growing tension over whether the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is blurring the lines between religion and state, the New York Times reports. While Turkey remains secular, opposition members have voiced concerns that its Islamist-rooted AKP is allowing Muslim ideals to influence government decisions.
So maybe love doesn’t really conquer all — at least, not in Turkey.