The brutal suppression of a peaceful environmental sit-in in Istanbul ignited a nationwide protest against the Turkish government. Allegations of police crossing the line between keeping the order and oppression are mushrooming in the social media.
Over the days of clashes with the protesters, Turkish police
excessively used water cannons and tear gas, drawing condemnation
from Amnesty International and calls for restraint from Turkey’s
“The use of tear gas against peaceful protestors and in
confined spaces where it may constitute a serious danger to
health is unacceptable, breaches international human rights
standards and must be stopped immediately,” Amnesty stressed
in a statement, calling on the Turkish government to investigate
all reports of abuse.
Photos and video footage of officers clubbing activists and
spraying them with irritants at point-blank range are circulating
across social media, further inflaming the Turkish riots. The
online anger is fueled by the dismissal of the protesters as
“simple looters” by the government and the apparent downplaying
of the importance of the protest in the official media.
The Turkish government insists that the protests are irrelevant
and inspired by extremist forces. As he was leaving the country
on Monday for a North Africa visit, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan
said that the Turkish intelligence services are investigating
possible foreign links to the weekend riots. He also said the
protest have nothing to do with the Gezi Park sit-ins.
Orchun Sunear, a musician, told RT that he had seen a lot of
people being seriously hurt by police, and even witnessed people
being crushed by a police tank. A friend of his called Lednah,
also a musician, is in a coma after being caught up in the
“My father, and grandmother have never seen anything like
this. In three generations the police have never behaved like
this. This is not normal in Turkey and I don’t understand why
this is happening,” he said.
Turkish Interior Minister Muammer GÃ¼ler said that 115 police
officers and 58 protesters had been injured in the clashes as of
Sunday. But rumors in social media claim that the number of
injured protesters is much higher, with some claiming deaths at
the hands of the police. The government says those reports are
lies, while by Erdogan branded social media “the worst menace
Widely-circulated graffiti in the capital, Ankara, describes the
information stand-off: “Revolution will not be televised,
it will be tweeted”.
This article originally appeared on: RT