“For the past few days, peaceful Turkish citizens have been protesting the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park, one of the few green areas left in the center of Istanbul. The plan by the Erdogan-run AKP government is to build a large shopping center instead, benefitting his own interests and filling his own pockets.
What started with a mere 100 protestors turned into tens of thousands over the course of a few days. People camped out in the park, sang songs, read books, danced. I was there yesterday and it was heartwarming.
Prime Minister Erdogan made a public announcement two days ago stating, ‘We have made up our minds’, and that nothing will stop his plans to destroy the park.
He subsequently ordered his police forces to attack protestors in the park using water cannons and tear gas without warning in the early hours of the morning. This has been happening for the past two days, and continues as I write these words. Tents were burned as people slept in them, innocent citizens were dragged away and had tear gas sprayed directly into their faces, kicked and punched where they were on the ground. Bystanders on their way to work also got sprayed. The center of Istanbul is now a war-zone.
Innocent people are being attacked, injured and hospitalised There are unofficial reports of one person being dead with his ID confiscated by officials (an eerie replay of the May 1 attacks when an innocent young girl was put into a coma due to tear gas attacks. This girl was later labeled by the government as a terrorist)
This has become a matter about more than just saving trees. This has always been about more than that. This is an ‘I can do whatever I damn well want’, fascist mentality that not only heavily suppresses but openly attacks its own people.
To make matters worse, media channels are being censored so as not to display the news.
#direngeziparki is now the 2nd worldwide trending topic on Twitter.
As our friends overseas, we need your help. Send this message to everyone you know. Amnesty International has already announced it condemns the use of excessive force against the protestors, and has called on the Turkish police to stop the use of violence, and to respect the protestors’ rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. But it hasn’t helped.
The protests have and will continue despite the abuse but it needs all the attention it can get, especially considering Turkish news channels heavily alter and misrepresent the nature of what is actually occurring in the heart of Istanbul.
Please create awareness internationally about our plight, or matters are going to get much, much worse. We want all international media channels - soclal and mass - to report this news.
Please help us to share this message and stop Erdogan’s ruthless, inhumane acts. In a never-ending series of human rights abuses that have occurred under his leadership, this is the last straw.”