Sunday, June 23, 2013

Even silent protest was too much democracy for Erdogan

This is a part of the crowd of tens of thousands in Taksim Square, Istanbul who yesterday commemorated fellow protestors killed by police attacks. Many held up red carnations in this defiant gesture. Riot cops on megaphones ordered the peaceful protestors to leave & when no one budged entered the square in phalanxes & in armored vehicles blasting water cannons. Protestors scuffled with the cops trying to hold them back, threw the flowers at them, & tried to hold the trucks back by standing in front of them. The square was cleared but the situation remains what a UN official calls “highly combustible.” The government claimed protestors were blocking traffic but the entire world bears witness that even silent protest was more opposition than the Erdogan regime was willing to tolerate.

Meanwhile the Erdogan government is conducting raids searching for protest organizers. They have already reportedly arrested 200 people in Istanbul & charged them with organizing violent protests. Police also raided two news agencies in Istanbul. Are these the actions of a democratic government?

Erdogan is blaming the protests on unspecified foreigners who he claims want to hurt Turkey & also organized two rallies this weekend to rally support for the government. He’s grasping at straws to justify repression but Turkey has a mighty big army to enforce its will. Our fullest solidarity with the fearless democracy protestors in Taksim Square!

(Photo by Marko Djurica/Reuters)

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