On June 1st 2013, a group of students, academics, intellectuals, artists, workers, business people from Turkey, living in Boston (later adopting the name Bostonbul), gathered in downtown Boston to support the protesters in Turkey, who are using their rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression, and to strive for a better democracy.
What started on Monday, May 27th, as a movement to peacefully protest against a public park demolition and its replacement with a shopping mall and old military barracks, has turned into a mass struggle of people in Turkey. On June 1st, in our first press statement, we reacted against the immense police brutality against the peaceful protesters, and anti-democratic actions of the government. We condemned the silence and bias of the mainstream media and stated that every person has a right to free press. In the statement, we also stated our concern about the magnitude of human rights violations, the rapidly increasing fear and oppression politics in Turkey including “life style impositions and, the harsh intervention measures against human and civil rights including but not limited to women’s rights, LGBTQ rights, minority rights, animal rights and the right to a sustainable environment.
We reaffirmed that the freedom of thought, expression, conscience, and assembly as well as the recognition and acceptance of diversity, are essential in any democratic society.
Congruent with the demands of the protesters in Turkey, we demanded that:
- The starting point of the protest, Gezi, remain a park,
- Continuing repression and police brutality end immediately,
- The constitutional rights of those in custody be protected and their medical needs be met,
- Immediate release of those arrested for exercising their right to protest peacefully and publicly,
- Those responsible for the disproportionate use of police power, and those who condoned the violence be held accountable,
- A participatory culture of democracy be established and sustained.
As millions have joined the movement since June 1st, and are subject to the same treatment, including 5 people who lost their lives and more than 8000 injured due to police brutality, our demands are still prevalent today.
Video of Our Press Release at Boston Common: