Thousands protested this week as 15 year old Berkin Elvan was laid to rest in Turkey.

BE protest

Berkin was only 14 when he went out to get a loaf of bread and was struck by a teargas cannister, fired by police during last year’s protests in Gezi Park, Istanbul. He succumbed to his injuries this week and his death has sparked new mass protests for democracy, and been met with renewed police repression.

Human rights groups have highlighted the repressive measures, which the government of Tayyip Erdogan uses against those protesting for democracy. Hundreds were injured in the demonstrations last year, many seriously, and Berkin’s death brings the number killed as a result of the protests to seven. Police are continuing to use tear gas and water cannon to attack the crowds protesting Berkin’s death. According to a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch in Turkey, “The case of Berkin Elvan has become a symbol for Turkey’s record of police violence and impunity.”

150 people have been arrested in the recent demonstrations and more people have been injured. The Erdogan government is currently embroiled in a corruption scandal. As one union leader put it, “Their children steal millions and our children are killed when they go to buy bread.” Unions called for mass demonstrations and a half day strike for the funeral today.

Hundreds of teachers participated in today’s events. Educators have been in the forefront of the struggle for democracy and against the privatising policies of the Erdogan government. As a result they have paid a high price as many of their leaders have been arrested and imprisoned and teachers victimised.

Other teacher news this week from around the world:

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Teacher Solidarity

Teacher Solidarity is an independent website which records the resistance to education "reform" of teachers, their unions, communities and researchers, who are fighting to defend public and democratic education.

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