Target: Hüseyin Çapkın, Chief of Police, Istanbul, Turkey
Goal: Drop charges against LGBT demonstrators arrested during violent police crackdown.
A gay pride celebration in Istanbul recently turned violent when police officers used tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons to disperse the crowd. Attendees of the annual pride event, held in Taksim Square, reported that police started chasing people in the streets after using excessive force on the hundreds of marchers in attendance. At least five of the demonstrators were arrested.
While the exact reason for the police response remains unknown, some have speculated that it was due to members of the crowd shouting anti-government chants. Another demonstrator said that a plainclothes officer claimed to be breaking up the demonstration because it took place during the celebration of Ramadan. Despite this claim, last year’s pride parade, which also fell during Ramadan, was not disturbed.
While homosexuality is not illegal in Turkey as it is in many other predominantly Muslim countries, members of the LGBT community still face significant hurdles. In past years, discrimination, harassment, and violence toward homosexuals has been on the rise. Currently, no laws exist in Turkey to protect people from discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.
Despite the fact that the demonstration was peaceful and nonviolent, police reacted with an unnecessary use of force against citizens. The use of such aggressive measures without any warnings showed a disturbing lack of judgement on the part of police. Sign the petition below to denounce the shutdown of the Istanbul gay pride march and demand that all arrested during the demonstration are freed.
Dear Chief Hüseyin Çapkın,
Several people were recently arrested after police used excessive force to break up a gay pride demonstration in Taksim Square. Police used water cannons, tear gas, and rubber bullets to break up a peaceful demonstration, while arresting at least five of the attendees. While a plainclothes officer claimed that the demonstration was being shut down because it took place during the celebration of Ramadan, last year’s demonstration was allowed to continue despite falling during the holiday.
Whatever the reasons for the crackdown, police showed a shocking lack of judgement in using such violent tactics before so much as a warning. The use of potentially harmful methods of dispersal against nonviolent demonstrators was completely unnecessary. We, the undersigned, condemn the harsh treatment of protesters and demand that charges are dropped against all those arrested.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Ludovic Bertron