What began as a peaceful demonstration to save a park in Istanbul has turned into a terrible wave of police repression against protesters throughout Turkey.
More than 100,000 people have turned out to protest the shockingly excessive measures used by police to disperse peaceful demonstrators. Amateur video footage from one demonstration shows police officers kicking seemingly defenseless protestors and beating them with batons.
This is an escalating human rights crisis. Thousands of protesters have been injured, many seriously, and there is at least one confirmed death.
In fact, the use of tear gas in closed areas is now becoming a health risk for protesters and bystanders alike. Not only have police used tear gas canisters as a weapon by deliberately firing them directly at nonviolent protestors, but tear gas has also been fired directly into homes, businesses and even at the entrance of a hospital. Video footage has also captured very young children being treated for the effects of tear gas.
What does Turkey’s Prime Minister have to say for this violence?
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan blames “foreign governments” and social media for corrupting “his people”. He’s called Twitter a “curse” and social media “a pain in the side of society.”
The repression must end. The right to peaceful protest is under attack. Only massive international outrage can move the needle now.
Defend human rights now – sign an online petition demanding Turkey respect the right of peaceful protest and stop the excessive use of force against demonstrators.