Police Attack Waste Pickers in Istanbul

Turkish police raided waste warehouses yesterday in Istanbul on the pretext of public order and attacked workers with tear gas and rubber bullets. Three waste pickers have been arrested.

There has been tension for some time between the Governor Office and waste pickers about the recent regulations on waste which are in favour with some big investors in recycling sector.

Ali Mendillioglu, president of The Recycling Workers Association said that the governor’s office laid the groundworkfor the arrests.

“Three of our friends were arrested. It doesn’t matter, let them take us all, let’s stay inside (the prison). It’s like a prison outside in Turkey anyway. We will not abandon our friends.”said Mendillioglu and called for solidarity.

Waste pickers, the most important link in the recycling chain in the country, face the worst conditions, working for almost 15 hours every day and suffering extreme poverty. 

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