Take action now!

Amnesty has issued an urgent call to take action on the continuing protests in Istanbul.  Protesters have grown in numbers from a few hundred earlier this week to thousands today.  Protests are currently spreading from Istanbul to other cities.

A lone protester challenges water cannon and teargas in Istanbul.  Photo credit Louis Fishman.  Used by permission

A lone protester challenges water cannon and teargas in Istanbul. Photo credit Louis Fishman. Used by permission

As they did at earlier protests, including the May Day celebrations earlier this month, police have used excessive force, including tear gas and water cannon, that has resulted in many injured. 

The time for action is now!

Here is what you can do:

1. Put social media to work:

Please use social media including twitter and facebook to circulate the below suggested messages, tagging @aforgutu for AI Turkey:

.@Valimutlu Police use of force against #direngeziparkı protestors is excessive, unacceptable & breaks international HR standards @aforgutu

.@Valimutlu @RT_Erdogan Istanbul authorities must immediately stop police violence against peaceful #direngeziparkı protestors @aforgutu

Amnesty International’s issuing international call to its activists to take action over police violence in #Taksim #direngeziparkı @aforgutu

2. Voice your concern directly to the Turkish government by writing to the Turkish ambassador in your country:

Send letters to Turkish embassies in your countries (addresses and details of which can be found in this link: http://www.mfa.gov.tr/turkish-representations.en.mfa

In the United States, write to:

Ambassador Namik Tan
Embassy, Republic of Turkey
2525 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008

What to include in your letter:

A. State that concerned at excessive force by law enforcement officials is routinely used in Turkey. In Istanbul, police used excessive force to disperse May Day protestors only four weeks ago (http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/EUR44/010/2013/en).

B. The use of tear gas against peaceful protestors and in confined spaces where it may constitute a serious danger to health is unacceptable.  Excessive force against peaceful protestors, as has been evident in the police response to these protests, breaches international human rights standards and must be stopped.

C. Remind the ambassador that 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.

Please send us any responses you receive.

3. Stay informed.  This is an on-going process and seems likely to intensify.

We need your help to keep the world’s attention on these events.

We need your voices to put pressure on the Turkish government to end excessive and dangerous police action!

Photos of the events in Istanbul can be viewed here.

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