Repression of protestors threatens Turkish democracy
Source: The Toronto Star
For the past two days, the Turkish police have laid siege to sections of Istanbul. No other word comes close to capturing the scale and brutality of what has transpired since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered an operation on Saturday night to clear Gezi Park, the site of a peaceful occupation by an estimated 10,000 demonstrators for the past two weeks.
Thousands of accounts circulated by social media, confirmed by videos now widely available online, report groups of police savagely beating unarmed and supine protestors in the middle of the streets. Chemicals mixed into water cannon sprays have left protestors and bystanders with extensive skin burns. A hotel and a hospital providing aid to those caught up in the chaos were attacked, including an area functioning as a clinic and nursery. The police have employed tear gas and pepper spray on such a large scale that the air in entire neighbourhoods has become temporarily unbreathable.