"Turkish Soccer Fans Pay Tribute To Michael Brown With ‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Sign"
The sports world has featured multiple tributes to Michael Brown, the 18-year-old Missouri man shot by a police officer, in recent days, from the St. Louis Rams’ decision to donate tickets to Ferguson-area high school football players to the pregame “hands up” protest from Washington football players Monday night. Tuesday, the tributes spread to Europe, where fans of Turkish Süper Lig soccer club Beşiktaş J.K. honored Brown during their team’s Champions League match against English club Arsenal.
The sign, as seen above, depicts the “Hands up, Don’t shoot” slogan that has become a rallying cry for protesters since a Ferguson police officer shot the unarmed Brown on August 9.
Ongoing protests in Ferguson have highlighted a number of issues in the United States, from racial prejudice to police violence and crackdowns on journalists and peaceful demonstrations, and while the sign only referenced racism, the police response in Ferguson would be familiar to many Turks. Police violence and freedom of press and assembly were major issues in Turkey last year during protests that began over the future of Istanbul’s Gezi Park and expanded in large demonstrations against the government. Police again used tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators who gathered in the park to mark the one-year anniversary of the protests in May. The police response to the Gezi Park protests drew rebukes from around the world (American foreign policy leaders urged President Obama to weigh in; the State Department eventually criticized Turkey for shutting down access to social media), and a European court ruled in July that the police’s use of tear gas had violated European human rights laws.