I just heard about the Occupy Gezi Protests a few minutes ago. After a cursory perusal of a few pictures and articles, it seems to fit the mold of all the recent “Occupy” movements. And by ‘fits the mold’ I mean ‘is characterized yet again by excessive force and police brutality.’ I was a Criminal Justice major and went through that course of study. Even with that knowledge and limited experience, I cannot fathom why police departments around the country and around the world think it’s ok to attack peaceful protesters.
If this were an isolated incident with children and grandparents bleeding on the ground after the riot squads got a bit enthusiastic, that might be explainable. Perhaps something crazy happened, maybe the protesters attacked a cop, maybe the media is sensationalizing the issue to make more money off of it. But none of these easy explanations work for the recent pattern of police brutality.
I was recently discussing the difference between what the cops are allowed to do, and what the cops actually do. With unlawful searches, unlawful stops, arrests, and regular old violence, there is a stark variation from the rules of engagement. Over the last few years, especially since the Occupy Wall Street protests, police departments have attacked peaceful protesters without reasonable cause. Unfortunately, there are cops on the ground with a point to prove and authority to abuse. Although, lots of them are just following orders. They were probably told to clear the streets, disperse the crowd, and secure the area. And of course no one really cares what methods they “need” to use in order to do so. These more-or-less regular cops see the Seal Team 6 wannabe guys with the water cannons, tear gas, and weaponry—-and fall right into line.
So far as I can tell, the Occupy Gezi protests were a peaceful demonstration to try and save an Istanbul park, one of the last green areas in the city. Obviously this reprehensible movement demands the police’s heavy-handed attention immediately… Laws are different in Istanbul, as they are in every country, so maybe the cops aren’t that far out of bounds there (I don’t know). But it has reached the point where Amnesty International is concerned about the use of excessive force.
“If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face—forever.”
I simply don’t understand why the unwarranted abuse of the peaceful public has become the status quo. Why are photos of choking, bleeding, crying, fleeing, gasping individuals so commonplace in the news?