Activists sue Turkey over animal deaths during Gezi protests
Humans were not the only ones affected by police's tear gas and water cannons. An association has vowed to bring justice for the furry victims of the protests. DAILY NEWS photo, Emrah GÜRELA group of activists have applied to the International Court of Justice for Animal Rights over the death and suffering of animals during the Gezi Park protests due to the police crackdowns involving intense tear gas and chemical-filled water.
Members of the Association for the Freedom of the Earth (Yeryüzüne Özgürlük Derneği), an ecologist community for the defense of nature and wildlife, justified their application emphasizing that scores of stray dogs and cats died after being exposed to tear gas, while hundreds were left with permanent damage.
“We ask for the exposing of the Turkish officials who have suffocated the [animals] with gas, transformed them into a target and cause death. We urge the condemnation of those responsible for these inconceivable, humiliating crimes against animals,” the application file said.
The association also called for the banning of tear gas to prevent similar events. The application file reportedly contained a large amount of documentation, with photographs and videos showing street animals in distress during the severe crackdowns that mostly took place around Taksim Square, one of Istanbul’s busiest areas.
Many protesters were memorably seen helping street dogs and cats against the effects of tear gas and water fired from police’s water cannon trucks (TOMAs) in pictures taken during the protests back in May and June.
The rulings of the court, which was established in 1979 and has its seat in Geneva, are not binding and are largely morally symbolic in value. The verdicts can nevertheless condemn government officials and leaders.