Amnesty condemns excessive force at Gezi Park

Even after the shocking images of earlier this week, the violence of today’s crackdown against protestors in Gezi Park was remarkable.

In a statement issued today, Amnesty International has condemned “the use of excessive force, including pepper spray, against peaceful protestors in a park in central Istanbul.”  The statement notes that “[at] least one protestor was seriously injured, needing emergency surgery.

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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