Sunday, 19 January 2014

Cleansing the streets

Turkish police have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse hundreds of protesters in Istanbul and Ankara.

The demonstrations were over a proposed government law to increase controls on internet usage. The controversial bill will give the government the authority to keep records of all user activities for up to two years.

One of the main barriers to Turkey's accession to the European Union is a failure to protect fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and assembly.*

Here in Britain, we've already got the Great Firewall of Cameron, mass surveillance and the slow throttling of our rights of assembly and protest. Unlike the Erdogan government, the British authorities can't just take one look at people exercising our cherished right to protest freely subversive troublemakers and decide to wash them off the streets with high-pressure water cannon - yet.

I'm imagining the gargoyle above with a shaggy mop of unkempt blond hair and seeing Boris Johnson's intended monument to posterity.

*Not that the EU seems to be taking those fundamental rights very seriously, when they can be suspended at a whim in order to spare EU officials from having to witness the catastrophic consequences of their own policies.

Image from Gordon Marino's Flikr stream