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Civil disobedience to break Amnesty International’s silence

A group of Kurdish demonstrators started a civil disobedience action on April 24, 2019 at the Amnesty International office in London to protest against the aggravated isolation imposed on Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan. While six activists continue the hunger strike action they commenced on the day, several people are supporting them in and out of the AI office.

The protest demonstration was organised jointly by the Cultural Association of Immigrant Workers (Gik-Der) and Kurdish People’s Assembly. The talks between the demonstrators and AI officials have not produced any results or reached an agreement yet since the launch of the protest on Wednesday morning.

Four people representing the demonstrators had a meeting with the AI Turkish Desk Chief and told about the abuses experienced by the prisoners in Turkey and stated that the silence of Amnesty International in the face of the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan was unacceptable.

The group also submitted the AI Turkish Desk a dossier containing details on the matter, calling on the organization, which has so far remained silent, to undertake responsibility and take action as thousands of prisoners are on an indefinite hunger strike demanding the end of the isolation, and their health conditions have already exceeded the critical threshold, with several prisoners having already been put in solitary confinement.

During the one-hour meeting, the Kurdish activists urged Amnesty International to release a statement condemning the isolation of Öcalan. When their requests were not met, six activists announced starting hunger strike resistance in the AI office.

While police units deployed at the scene are trying to prevent people from entering the building, demonstrators are faced with inhuman impositions as they remain determined to continue their protest.

AI officials have locked the bathrooms in the building and are trying, together with the police, to prevent the activists from receiving some urgent needs such as water from outside in an attempt to make the demonstrators end their protest.

The Democratic Kurdish Society Congress (KCDK-E) called on Kurds in the UK to join the actions of civil disobedience to demand the end of isolation against Kurdish People’s Leader Abdullah Öcalan.

The statement said: “On the evening of Wednesday, 24 April, activists entered the building of the British national channels ITV, ITN and Channel 4 and carried out a democratic action to raise awareness about the hunger strike resistance.

The international institutions, the CPT, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the national press are still silent about this resistance. The activists condemned this silence and said they were determined not to leave the studios without meeting with directors.

Despite the Turkish state’s efforts to silence the hunger strike, the activists persistently continued their resistance.”

The statement also recalled that “on the morning of 24 April, Kurdish activists entered the offices of Amnesty International in the center of London and began a hunger strike there. Amnesty International is requested to make a statement about the hunger strikes.

The protest outside the building continues. We call on all our people and our friends to grant mass support and mobilization to this rightful democratic action to break the silence about the hunger strikes.” 

Source: ANF English