The British Trade Union movement, led by Frances O’Grady General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress, converged on the Turkish Embassy in Belgrave Square yesterday (21.6.13) as the International Transport Federation organised demo condemned the ongoing police brutality under the guardianship of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Speaker after speaker gave harrowing accounts of peaceful protesters being savagely beaten. Ibrahim Avcil spoke on behalf of the Taksim Square Solidarity Committee London and confirmed the grim statistics associated with the Gezi Park protest. Four protesters had lost their lives, a number had lost their eyes and many others suffered brutal beatings at the hands of unforgiving police. An estimated 120,000 tear gas canisters had been used against people, which in itself was a serious breach of human rights, not to mention the effect this has also had on the environment.
Frances O’Grady who also addressed the crowds said “I bring solidarity to the Turkish people and they are not alone in their fight against oppression. I went across the road to hand in a letter to the Embassy and they did not even have the courtesy to open the door”. Shout of “shame” echoed around Belgrave Square in response to this discourteous act.
The highlights of the day included senior figures of the trade union movement locking arms in solidarity as they walked across the street to hand in the letter. Also at the end of the demonstration protesters lined the whole length of the Belgrave Square formulating their own standing man protest to the state. Other senior trade union figures in attendance included ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton and Manual Cortez General Secretary TSSA along with representatives from the UCU, PCS, NUT and CWU.