Showing our support for Gezi

June 19, 2013

SOME 250 Turkish-Americans and their supporters gathered in front of the White House on June 15 to stand in solidarity with protests against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and to speak out against his government's brutal use of force, including tear gas aimed directly into crowds and cannons firing water mixed with irritating chemicals.

Protesters chanted many slogans in Turkish, including "Tayyip istifa!" which translates in English to "Tayyip resign!" Some chants called for a return of democracy, such as "We are the people, we are the state, listen to us, don't dictate."

Organizers passed out fliers with a statement explaining the situation in Turkey with regards to lack of press freedom, lack of judicial independence and quality of the judicial process.

"According to the recent Carnegie report by Ambassador Marc Pierini, as of August 2012, 68 percent of the journalists imprisoned in Turkey were held because of their relationship to the Kurdish issue," read the statement. It also explained that journalists in Turkey who were reporting on the possible existence of a clandestine secular ultra-nationalist organization, Ergenekon, were then charged with participating in that same group.

This was the third action in as many weeks demanding a halt to police brutality and mobilizations of armed forces against protesters, along with the use of tear gas and chemical-infused water cannons against the peaceful protesters.

Even though Gezi Park protesters have been brutally attacked, six people have died and at least a dozen have been blinded, the protests in Turkey are standing strong. Protests have spread to more affluent neighborhoods where people are entering the streets banging on pots and pans.

The organizers explained that as long as the protests in Turkey continue, the protests at the White House will continue every weekend, to show our solidarity with their struggles.

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