Posted by SnakeArbusto and greydogg, 99GetSmart

Submitted by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan, from Istanbul

Update from Turkey 8 July 2013:

As part of a weekly routine, Istanbul experienced yet another weekend of police violence when thousands of people wanted to visit Gezi Park, having received the court decision to keep it as a park and after the Governor declared it “open to public visiting.” Except that no one is allowed there other than police… Once again, it was a crowd of many different people – children, seniors, disabled people, students, men, women, anti-capitalist Muslims, LGBT communities, leftists, nationalists… And once again they all faced excessive police violence, upon the Minister of Interior’s declaration that “no protest can ever be allowed, and of course we will disperse any crowd that gathers.”

Thus the democratic rights of civilians were put on the shelf, and thousands of policemen and undercover agents started arresting anyone around. Cafes and restaurants got their fair share of tear gas while people were hit by water cannons on streets. When a new weekend crackdown was added to the already long list, it proved to be one that has expanded in scope.

When protesters said “It’s not just Gezi Park any more,” no one would expect the same phrase to be used by government officials as well. It cannot be the park any more; nothing can explain this hatred that targets popular tourist destinations, the heart of night life and the center of cultural zones in and around Taksim.

People were subjected to tear gas, they were hit with nightsticks for simply enjoying a few drinks in cafes and bars. People were being shot by plastic bullets from a distance of 50 centimeters, and if they complained of violence they were beaten more. Many journalists experienced violence, and their already harsh working conditions were made harder. As police were detaining the protesters who were gathering to mimic water cannons through a water-gun fight game, several people with machetes appeared and attacked people on the streets.

When the machete-wielding men started attacking people on the street, no one dared to stop them. The police did not even intervene, as they were busy detaining protesters, gassing children in the park, and chasing after disabled people. When finally, after much uproar from protesters, the machete men were detained, they were quickly brought to court… where they were released.

Yet on Friday night when the AKP organized a rally to protest the military coup in Egypt, there was no police intervention against the blocking of traffic or disturbing the public peace at midnight, or against the vandalism against the Egyptian consulate building. With these double standards prevailing, another event was organized on Sunday under the name “Gassed Man Festival,” in Kadikoy, where hundreds of thousands of people who had enjoyed a good amount of tear gas before cheered with protesting bands and musicians.

While all this is happening in the larger frame, on a more specific basis, journalists and bloggers are being accused of “espionage” for unspecified “international alliances,” and people continue being targeted.

MORE STORIES by Gürkan Özturan @ http://radicaldemocrat.blog.com

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