Sunday, 2 June 2013

Countless international organisations condemn government over Taksim

Human Rights Association (IHD) Istanbul Branch has released a written statement condemning the police terror against Gezi Park protestors whose resistance is being supported by tens of thousands across the country.
IHD urged the ruling AKP government to open Taksim Square to people for the ending of clashes going on in Istanbul and spreading to other cities, to Ankara in particular.
Association pointed out that hundreds of people have been injured in clashes, with some among them having lost their eye and many others staying in intensive care unit.
IHD evaluated the brutal police attack against tens of thousands as a massacre, adding, “The protestors who are voicing fair demands must be allowed to enter the Taksim Square”. The Association called on the government to urgently remove the obstacles to the right to congregate and demonstrate.
IHD said they will be on vigil till the ending of Taksim events, reminding that government officials will be responsible for grave consequences.

Reporters Without Borders released a statement firmly condemning police violence against journalists covering the “Occupy Gezi Park” protests in Istanbul during the past few days. Reporters have been the victim of both targeted attacks and the indiscriminate violence used by police to disperse demonstrators.
“The Istanbul police must be called to order because their repeated use of excessive force is unacceptable,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Thorough and impartial investigations should also be carried out to identify and punish the police officers who deliberately targeted journalists.”
Reporters Without Borders added: “The police are required to maintain law and order, but they also have a duty to protect journalists while they are doing their job as reporters.”
Well-known freelance journalist Ahmet Şık was hit on the head by a tear gas canister Friday morning while photographing clashes between police and protesters from a position near a group of parliamentary representatives of the opposition CHP party. Onlookers said the canister was deliberately thrown at Şık from a distance of about 10 metres.
Şık was hospitalized with injuries to the back of the head and right side of his face. Reporters Without Borders representative Erol Önderoglu said Şık was conscious but medical staff wanted to keep him under observation and conduct additional tests.
The disproportionate force repeatedly used by the police affected many other journalists. Hüseyin Özdemir, a photographer with the daily Milliyet, reported having breathing problems after Gezi Park was constantly enveloped in a thick cloud of tear gas. Hürriyet Daily News photographer Emrah Gürel sustained a leg injury in as yet unclear circumstances, RSF said.
Located close to central Istanbul’s Taksim Square, Gezi Park is to be demolished as part of the square’s ongoing pedestrianization. The park’s defenders have been occupying it since 26 May, holding up work. The police have repeatedly tried to evict them, using more violence each time.
The police staged dawn raids yesterday and today on the demonstrators’ camp inside the park, using armoured vehicles, water canon and lots of tear gas, and setting fire to their tents. According to some accounts, the police chased the demonstrators as they fled into nearby streets this morning.
Amnesty International has released a written statement condemning the use of excessive force against peaceful protestors at Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park.
Gezi Park in Taksim, Istanbul, is facing demolition to make way for the construction of a shopping centre as part of a large scale regeneration of the area. Dozens of protestors opposed to the plans have been camping in the park for the last two days. In the early hours of 30 May, police moved in to destroy their tents, and used pepper spray to disperse the protestors. A 23 year-old protestor was seriously injured after sprayed with tear gas, kicked and hit by police when he was holding onto a tree.
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 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. Amnesty International calls on the authorities to
carry out a prompt, independent and impartial investigation into the allegations of excessive and unnecessary use of force, and ensure that any law enforcement officials responsible for arbitrary or abusive use of force to be prosecuted. Amnesty International also calls on the authorities to ensure protestors’ rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression. 

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