Greek mainlanders support protests in Turkey

About 1,000 Greek, leftwingers marched on Monday, in support of widespread protests in Turkey and in particular those who were in the latest clashes with police in Ankara. The city faces its fourth day of unrest. These actions across the country are the worst that Prime Minister Erdogan has had to face.

“Authoritarianism is broken on the street, solidarity with the Turkish people,” chanted the demonstrators from various leftist groups including the main opposition radical left Syriza party.

“From Taksim Square to Athens, we fight poverty and hunger,” they sang, referring to Istanbul’s main square where demonstrators rallied. 

The Athens demonstration included a small group of Kurdish refugees who held a banner in Greek and Turkish: “Overturn the regime”.

A similar protest had been held in the northern city of Thessaloniki on Sunday.

The protests in Turkey began as a local environment campaign to safe one of the few green spaces left in Istanbul. However, protests took on wider political meaning following the heavy-handed reactions by the police who used tear gas and plastic bullets to disperse the crowds. Events escalated and rapidly turned what was a peaceful sit-in in Gezi park into one of the biggest demonstrations against Erdogan’s government since it came to power over a decade ago.

Syriza, Greece’s second largest party, has condemned the Turkish police’s heavy-handed response to the protests and called on European Union authorities to put pressure on Ankara.

“All over Turkey there are protests over press freedom, union rights, the rights of Kurds, women and the right to protest. It is imperative that Erdogan listens,” Syriza said.

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