Jun 242013
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Tell the Turkish Prime Minister to stop using water canons and tear gas in Taksim Square.

from Amnesy International

Since May 29, more than 2,000 people have been injured across Turkey after police used water cannon and tear gas against demonstrators.

Protests began in Gezi Park in Taksim, in the centre of Turkey's largest city, Istanbul, on May 27. A few hundred protesters occupied the park to demonstrate against its destruction to make way for the building of a shopping centre. In the early hours of May 29, police started to disperse them, using tear gas and excessive force. During the night of Thursday 30 May, up to 3,000 demonstrators joined the protest. They were removed from the park in the early hours of the morning by police using tear gas and water cannon. Scores of people were injured during the police crack down.

Video evidence has documented police deliberately firing tear gas canisters at protesters.

Since Friday, May 31, protests spread across the country, and by Sunday June 2nd, there were hundreds of protests in 67 provinces. According to the Turkish Medical Association, at least 1,500 people were injured in Istanbul; over 400 people were injured in Ankara, Turkey's capital and another 420 in Izmir, in western Turkey.

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The Turkish Medical Association stated that the majority of the injuries were caused by the use of water cannon and tear gas. Amnesty International condemns the widespread use of tear gas and water cannon to disperse peaceful protesters. Video evidence has documented police deliberately firing tear gas canisters at protesters. Members of the public who have not been protesting have been affected by the excessive use of tear gas, which has been used in confined spaces such as the metro station in Taksim and allegedly in buildings where protestors were sheltering. 

The authorities claim to have detained close to 1000 people. Dozens of amateur videos taken at the scene of demonstrations show law enforcement officials hitting, kicking and beating protesters with truncheons, including when they had been incapacitated by the effects of tear gas.

According to international human rights standards, any decision to disperse an assembly should be taken only as a last resort and in line with the principles of necessity and proportionality. International standards contained in the United Nations Basic Principles on the use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials require that in dispersing assemblies, police must avoid the use of force or, where that is not practicable, must restrict any such force to the minimum necessary.

Article 21 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Turkey is a state party, guarantees the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, stating that "no restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others."

Take action:  Send an urgent message to Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, the Prime Minister of Turkey, urging him to immediately end the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters and ensure the right to freedom of expression and assembly.

Here is the letter you can sign and send on the Amnesty website:

Dear Prime Minister

I am writing to express my deep concern about recent events in Istanbul and elsewhere in Turkey where security forces have used excessive force resulting in many injuries to peaceful protesters.

I urge you to:

  • immediately end the excessive use of force against peaceful protesters;

  • respect and ensure the right to freedom of expression and assembly;

  • and conduct a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the excessive use of force  and bring to justice law enforcement officials found to have ill-treated demonstrators or other members of the public.

About Amnesty International

Amnesty International is a global movement of more than 3 million supporters, members and activists in more than 150 countries and territories who campaign to end grave abuses of human rights.

© Copyright 2013 Amnesty International, All rights Reserved. Written For: StraightGoods.ca

  One Response to “Tell Turkey to rein in excessive force”

  1. […] of public life itself, the most unlimited, the broadest democracy and public opinion,” among the protesters on Taksim Square in […]

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