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06/05/2013

Turkey's protests gain momentum

Occupy Gezi protests in Turkey are spreading and using social media to gain momentum. In response, police have arrested at least 25 protesters  because of material they posted on social media, AP reports.

But that has not dampened the outrage - protests are escalating and have spread. A major trade union representing 240,000 workers is planning a two day strike in response at heavy-handed response from the state. 

Meanwhile this is the text of the full page advertisement which Turkish protesters want to place in the New York Times. It is paid for through crowd sourced funding on Indiegogo. Organizers needed $53,800 but raised nearly twice as much - $94,774

 What is Happening in Turkey? 


People of Turkey have spoken: We will not be oppressed!

Millions are outraged by the violent reaction of their government to a peaceful protest aimed at saving Istanbul’s Gezi Park.

Outraged, yet not surprised.

Over the course of Prime Minister Erdoğan’s ten-year term, we have witnessed a steady erosion of our civil rights and freedoms. Arrests of numerous journalists, artists, and elected officials and restrictions on freedom of speech, minorities’ and women’s rights all demonstrate that the ruling party is not serious about democracy.

Time and again, the Prime Minister has mocked and trivialized his nation’s concerns while Turkey’s own media have remained shamefully silent.

The people protesting bravely throughout Turkey are ordinary citizens. We span several generations and represent a spectrum of ethnic, religious, socioeconomic, ideological, sexual, and gender identities. We stand united because of our concern for Turkey’s future. Our future.

We demand an end to police brutality.
We demand a free media.
We demand open democratic dialogue between citizens and those elected to public service, not the dictates of special interests.
We demand an investigation of the government’s recent abuse of power, which has led to the loss of innocent lives.

Join the conversation and stand with us in solidarity.

And this video is being circulated widely on Twitter. In the most poignant scene, a middle-aged man apparently on his way to buy bread for his children shouts at a police officer in gas mask while protesters clap around him. "It is not OK like this, it is a shame. They are human like you are."

  

Hamida Ghafour is a foreign affairs reporter at The Star. She has lived and worked in the Middle East and Asia for more than 10 years and is the author of a book on Afghanistan. Follow her on Twitter @HamidaGhafour

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