ISTANBUL - Turkish authorities committed widespread rights abuses in their crackdown on popular demonstrations in June, beating, abusing and harassing protesters, and using unnecessary force, Amnesty International said on Wednesday.
In a 72-page report, "Brutal denial of the right to peaceful assembly in Turkey", the rights group said police fired plastic bullets directly at protesters' heads and tear gas canisters were fired into residential buildings and medical facilities.Two women told Amnesty how they were hit and groped by police after being detained in Ankara. When they complained, police either refused to record the complaint or brought the character of the accuser into question, the report said.
Four protesters and a police officer died and more than an estimated 8,000 people were injured in the summer unrest which erupted when police used tear gas and water cannon to try to clear peaceful protesters from an Istanbul park.
"Widespread and systematic abusive force was used by law enforcement officials in violation of international human rights standards," Amnesty said in a news release.