The RMT delegation in Istanbul
A delegation of members from British transport union RMT have given a first-hand account of the repression of the mass demonstrations in Turkey’s Taksim Square at the weekend, after travelling in support of Turkish trade unionists.
In a graphic account to the union’s executive the delegation reports that:
” The protest was being attacked with water cannon and tear gas, the water being laced with phosphoric acid in order to blind protesters. We saw old women gasping for air and children running in blind panic. Incredibly the crowd did not respond to this provocation with violence but by singing and chanting, this did not stop the police firing more tear gas and plastic bullets at them.
“The protesters were now being driven from the square by the water cannon into the side streets, many were wearing gas masks and goggles because they had been subject to, previous police attacks. We stood with them in solidarity waving our RMT banner. A few moments later we were targeted by the water cannon sprayed with the solution containing acid and blinded for about ten minutes. We were saved by protesters who rushed to our aid with alkaline solutions and towels and who brought us to safety in another street.”
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“RMT stands shoulder to shoulder with our fellow trade unionists in Turkey who are mobilising industrial action against the Government clampdown.
“The report from our officials and executive members who travelled in solidarity at the weekend is a graphic first-hand account of the sheer scale of the attacks on the protestors and will be circulated widely . RMT will be supporting the solidarity protests being organised by the Turkish unions and the International Transport Federation.”