Amnesty and ITV offices occupied to break the silence over jailed Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan

Protesters inside Amnesty International
Emily Apple

The UK offices of both Amnesty International and ITV have been occupied to protest the organisations’ silence over the prison conditions of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Thousands of people, many of whom are political prisoners in Turkey, are on indefinite hunger strike demanding the end of the isolation imposed on Öcalan. The Kurdish leader is currently being held in solitary confinement on İmralı prison island, where he is not allowed access to lawyers or family visits. His writings have been central to the progressive Rojava Revolution in northern Syria, which has put ecology and women’s liberation at the forefront of its struggle for communal democracy.

The occupation

Protesters entered the Amnesty building early on 24 April:

And they soon started a hunger strike in the building:

The protesters want Amnesty to speak out more clearly about what is happening in Turkey:

By the evening, people announced they were staying the night and that Amnesty had agreed to meet them in the morning:

The group of protesters stated:

We call upon everyone to show solidarity with the occupation and grow the resistance. Our comrades have started [a] hunger strike in… Amnesty International’s building. It’s crucial for everyone to attend here right now to show solidarity with our comrades.


Meanwhile, other people occupied the offices of ITV:

The silence on Öcalan and the Kurdish hunger strikers must end. And Öcalan’s isolation must stop. The hunger strikers aren’t asking for special treatment for Öcalan. They want him to receive the same rights as other prisoners in Turkey; rights that he should already be entitled to under existing Turkish law. They are just asking for Turkey to respect its own legislation.

Amnesty urgently needs to speak out about Öcalan and the anti-Kurdish war crimes committed by the Turkish state in recent years. And we all need to raise our voices to support the hunger strikers’ demands.

Featured image via Twitter screengrab

Get involved

  • If you’re in London on 25 April – find out more about the Kurdish freedom movement at the Extinction Rebellion protests.
  • Kurdish activists are asking people to contact their local MPs to draw attention to the hunger strikers and the isolation of Abdullah Öcalan.
  • Get involved with your local anti-arms-trade group to try to prevent arms sales to Turkey.
  • Read Abdullah Öcalan’s writings and Canary coverage on Rojava.

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