Today was a very busy day in London for those who wanted to show their support for democratic rights in Turkey.
Article 19 organised a stand-still protest outside the Turkish Embassy to commemorate the 7 people killed during the protests.
People from Turkey who have been concerned about what’s happening in Turkey also organised an arts, music and performance protest outside the Tate Modern and on the Millennium Bridge which then continued at the Turkish Fest at Bernie Spain Gardens further down the Southbank.
The placards and costumes of the participants were particularly colourful and showed the creativity of Gezi spirit. There was a woman with a sign “my bump is not ugly”. Another was dressed in a zebra outfit holding a sign reading ‘out with the penguin, in with zebra’ [during the worst of the violence government controlled media broadcast documentaries about penguins instead of showing the news]. There were musicians in gas masks and balloons with #london4gezi hashtag.
The following text is taken from the leaflet distributed at the performance event:
Who are we?
We are people from Turkey concerned about what’s been happening. Once a week we hold forums to find ways of supporting the resistance. Join the conversation and stand with us in solidarity.
To sign the petition for the UK government to condemn the violence: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/51112
The information provided in the leaflet is as follows
Let’s talk turkey!
Is freedom of expression not a natural right?
Does one not need green spaces in a huge metropolis?
Should we not be free to choose our lifestyles?
Not according to the current Turkish government!
Two months ago, environmentalist protesters were brutally attacked by the police as they defended Gezi Park in the heart of Istanbul. The government had gone ahead with the demolition of the park despite the court’s ruling against it. Images of state violence spread through social media and millions hit the streets in support of the protesters. Yet the government would not listen and continued to escalate the violence and lawlessness.
5 killed, 9000+ wounded, and 12 have lost eyes after tear gas canisters were fired at their heads. Countless protesters have been arrested.
Today, the witch hunt still continues
For treating the wounded, doctors are criminalised.
For defending the detained, lawyers are arrested.
For writing the truth, journalists are sacked.
Every day brings some new attack from the ‘usual’ water cannon and tear gas combo to or a more subtle ones on lifestyles. Pregnant women are just one recent target. Their bumps render them ‘immoral’ according to a leading religious thinker who says they should stay at home.
Today’s action is to bring the voice of the Gezi Park resistance to London.
Their demand for democracy must be heard.
For coverage of the performance in Turkish press, see: