Turkish police shoot on protesters at the World Water Forum

The Coalition and the SA Municipal Workers Union are participating in the alternative People’s Forum

Thursday 19 March 2009 by Nic

At 9.30 this morning, a group of about 300 Turkish and international activists began a peaceful march towards the entrance of the 5th World Water Forum in Beyoglu to express their concerns about the political agenda of the event and prevent people getting inside. Turkish police forces, outnumbering by far protesters, quickly intervened and charged, using rubber bullets, separating Turkish activists from international protesters and violently dispersing the action.

17 Turkish activists from the "No to commercialisation of water platform" were arrested, mostly women who couldn’t escape fast enough and one high-profile leader of anti-dam movements. Arrested activists are now in hospital, waiting for their transfer to Vatan police station where they might be prosecuted for illegal protest. The renowned Turkish hospitality seems to not apply to those critical of the World Water Forum.

Other activists then entered the WWF venue to protest against this unacceptable way of treating democratic protests and further challenge the World Water Council and Turkish government’s water privatisation plans. The Coalition Against Water Privatisation strongly condemns the repression by the Turkish government; people must express themselves without any fear of police brutality.

The Coalition and the South African Municipal Workers Union (SAMWU) will be presenting the South African water struggle and the landmark Johannesburg High Court ruling (that outlawed prepaid water meters) at the alternative people’s forum. As part of the international day of action, CAWP will be picketing at Johannesburg Water office and holding community mass meetings concerning access to water.

The 6th World Water Forum is illegitimate and its nothing but a gathering of the water industry mafias. The global water movement vowed that they will organize hard to make sure that this is the last World Water Forum organized by water thieves. The next must be organized by the United Nations (UN), and every country must make sure that the human right to water is protected and that access to water and sanitation is a priority.

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