What began as a peaceful protest to save one of Istanbul city center’s last remaining green spaces has transformed into a violent countrywide uprising. Despite an initial media blackout in the Turkish press, photos of police brutality towards protesters quickly began flooding the internet. The Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, said social media was 'spreading lies', calling it "the worst menace to society".
Witnesses from across Turkey have talked of the police's liberal approach to pepper spray, with some even reporting ‘agent orange’ too – a highly destructive chemical weapon banned in the EU. Innocent people have been run over, crowds have been shot at with plastic bullets, while gas bombs are being tossed into buildings housing the severely injured.
On the flip side, the police force is acknowledged to be working under extremely provocative conditions, with hardly any sleep, obeying the orders of Erdoğan who rather than alleviate tensions, has publically threatened the so-called 'extreme minority', describing them as "a few looters... those from other cities don't even know where Gezi Park is". Adding to the terror, there's a rumour circulating that Erdoğan's fanatical following are masquerading as policemen.
The following videos are not solely from Istanbul. They are from the capital city Ankara, from Izmir, from all around Turkey – the streets are covered with A.C.A.B. graffiti, which has turned into a popular Twitter/Instagram hashtag. It means ‘All Cops Are Bastards’ – as the disturbing, public-shot Youtube footage we found online shows:
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