— muratcekic (@muratcekic) June 22, 2013
Turkish protestors have demonstrated remarkable creativity in their response to government efforts to stifle their right to freely assemble and express their views. Only days after the remarkable “standing man” phenomenon went viral, protestors again gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, this time armed with carnations to commemorate those who have died in the course of these protests.
Again, Turkish police employed excessive and indiscriminate force against peaceful protestors. Meanwhile, at a rally in Samsun, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan blamed the protests on “the interest-rate lobby” and portrayed the demonstrators as enemies of religion:
Let them go into mosques in their shoes, let them drink alcohol in our mosques, let them raise their hand to our headscarved girls…One prayer from our people is enough to frustrate their plans.
Amnesty has already voiced concern at the government’s determination to limit protests in Taksim Square. In a press release yesterday, Amnesty noted
Following weeks of violently suppressed public protests, the Turkish government’s declaration that public assemblies in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square will not be tolerated will put Pride marches at risk over the next two Sundays…..
The organization believes that not allowing peaceful gatherings in one of Istanbul’s most iconic squares is a serious assault on the right to freedom of assembly, and the Turkish authorities must backpedal from this threatened restriction.