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in solidarity with the people of turkey!

it’s been horrifying to read messages from my friends in istanbul about civil war-like circumstances- and i’m still worried that i haven’t heard back from some people since their last messages around 11pm CET [EDIT: they are safe, unlike these people].

this german TV report with english subtitles is the best video i could find so far. the reporter on the ground, who has been to afghanistan, lebanon, libya and many more crisis zones before, says, clearly moved, that he “has never seen anything like this before”.

the news coming out of istanbul appear way too horrible to be true, but I’m afraid they aren’t. it seems that it wasn’t just plain water in the water cannons (more evidence), people were deliberately fired at with tear gas capsules and rubber bullets, police even shot water and tear gas into the lobbies of neighboring hotels (and hospitals! and private homes!) that offered shelter, they are denying access of medical personnel to the injured and arresting everyone coming out of the hotels, 3G and other signals are jammed, reporters denied access to the scene and even reports of journalists beaten, mass arrests. among the hundreds of injured were many children under 10 years old, elderly people who were having a picknick, and also the head of the german green party.

by the way, as a friend of mine pointed out, tear gas is considered a chemical weapon and if this were an ‘official war’, its use would be prohibited. what about that, obama?

this is another good information source on what’s happening, as is this one. and this is a well-kept multi-lingual ticker. here you can sign the avaaz petition.

(by the way, the situation in brazil doesn’t seem much better.. [EDIT: good explanation of the protests])

i know, we’re talking about sovereign nations, but we must not let our political leaders/representatives get away with ignoring this situation we need immediate international reactions from the most official authorities, especially since erdogan doesn’t seem to take democratic displays of public opinion seriously. i’m not an expert on what kinds of pressure could be exerted, but those responsible should be held accountable for violations of universal human rights.

in berlin, there are solidarity demonstrations at 12:00 at breitscheidplatz and 15:00 at kottbusser tor [EDIT: on sunday, june 16]. taksim is everywhere. big thanks to yusuf beyazit, who has been an invaluable information resource for this post.

this is not exactly verified, but has been re-posted by a few of my friends. using media distortion tactics and agents provocateurs is pretty common, so it would actually surprise me if erdogan would not be using them:

“The government in collaboration with the police and the media staged a theater play (with terrible actors) at Taksim square early this morning. After announcing that there will be no attacks on the people at Gezi park and Taksim, hundreds of policemen came to collect the banners, at the same time chocking people with tear gas. The media, who has ignored the protests so far was there from the beginning broadcasting (from extremely good shooting points) a play between hundreds of cops and about 30 protesters (still a mystery who they were) who were throwing molotov cocktails to the police at the square. This act went on for more than an hour. The police, who is capable of breaking up thousand of people (without provocation) within minutes with tear gas and water cannons, only circled around them, gently spraying a little water. In the mean time, on the back streets and around Gezi park, where the media was not broadcasting, the attacks were as usual brutal. The protests until this morning have been peaceful and it is not clear whether these people were extremists from some political groups or some others(??). What is clear is that they do not reflect the spirit of this uprising. Couple of hours ago, police attacked the biggest court house in Istanbul and arrested around 70 lawyers, who were only protesting against the morning attacks, probably as a response to their help with protecting the rights of the people arrested and injured during last weeks protests. In response to today’s events, people of Istanbul are going back to Taksim square this evening at 19:00 possibly with larger numbers than the protests on May 31. Please spread this information. The Turkish media has failed miserably and it is very important that the world knows what is really going on in Turkey.”

from berlin in solidarity. photo courtesy of ari.

[P.S. an important message from egypt to the turkish demonstrators:

]

quite disturbing to see the erosion of the freedom of the press in the last years, but it seems 2011 saw some more big hits to journalists rights being respected by the police.

most recently, new york reporters met “the fists of the law”, and at the castor protests happening now, police pepperspray and beat journalists, took away their protection gear or their entire equipment, and even allowed (ordered?) a police dog to bite a journalist!

(Source: http://rt.com/)

best piece on occupy i’ve read in a while, calling it like it is! (thanks Kristyan!)

As the puzzle pieces fit together, they began to show coordination against OWS at the highest national levels.

But wait: why on earth would Congress advise violent militarised reactions against its own peaceful constituents? The answer is straightforward: in recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth, as we see from the “scandal” of presidential contender Newt Gingrich’s having been paid $1.8m for a few hours’ “consulting” to special interests.

I found out what it was that OWS actually wanted. […] No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

What happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent.

[UPDATE: jetzt auch in deutscher übersetzung]

what happened on friday at UC davis is fucking outrageous!! the important part is mostly in the first minute of the video. peaceful protesters who are just sitting on the ground are being pepper-sprayed for no reason at all. this is how UC davis professor nathan brown describes what happened next:

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

being arrested after pepper-sprayed is especially painful, because you can’t wash the stuff out of your eyes or try to reduce the pain – you’re in handcuffs. i don’t even know if the word agony sufficiently describes that situation.

the council of UC faculty associations condemned the police violence, calling it “unprovoked, disproportional and excessive”. they “are outraged that the administrations of UC campuses are using police brutality to suppress dissent, free speech and peaceful assembly”.

prof. brown’s open letter to the UC davis chancellor linda p.b. katehi calls for her immediate resignation, as the person directly responsible for this course of action. i fully support prof. brown. i’d even go a step further. she should be arrested and tried for this criminal assault (i’m not a lawyer, so i don’t know if this is actually possible. it’s simply an expression of my personal sense of justice).

i wouldn’t stop there. usually i see the police as victims/puppets of those that command them (usually politicians in the executive branch), and not as malignant people. but in this case, all i see is plain cold-hearted brutality. the cop, identified as john pike, doesn’t even try to steal himself away from the scene, like NYC’s tony boloney. this guy seems pretty proud of his actions. he should stand trial as well!

more background info, more pictures. the whole world is watching. now the whole world needs to get off its ass and do something!

john pike at work

yet again, the i am not moving movie is spot on.

[UPDATE: how awesome is this movement?! they managed to protest the chancellor with their presence in absolute silence as she exited the press conference, turning it into a walk of shame!]