- Title: Inspired by Ozil, thousands march in support of Uighurs
- Date: 20th December 2019
- Summary: ISTANBUL, TURKEY (DECEMBER 20, 2019) (REUTERS) (NIGHT SHOTS) VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS BEGINNING TO MARCH AFTER PRAYERS / FATIH MOSQUE SEEN IN THE BACKGROUND PROTESTERS MARCHING AND HOLDING UP A BANNER DENOUNCING CHINA'S XINJIANG POLICY VARIOUS TOP VIEWS OF PROTESTERS MARCHING AND CHANTING ALLAH-U AKBAR (GOD IS GREAT) VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS CARRYING TURKISH AND EAST TURKESTAN FLAGS MARCHING (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) UIGHUR PROTESTER, ADEM ADIL, SAYING: "There is genocide in East Turkestan. China massacres 35 million Uighur Turks in East Turkestan." VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS CARRYING BANNER READING (English): "NOT XINJIANG, EAST TURKESTAN" AND CHANTING (Turkish): "MURDERER CHINA, GET OUT OF EAST TURKESTAN" (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) UIGHUR PROTESTER, ADEM ADIL, SAYING: "We are very pleased. We are very pleased with Mesut's (comments). Everybody should raise their voice against this tyrant like Mesut did." PROTESTERS MARCHING AND CHANTING ALLAH-U AKBAR (GOD IS GREAT) (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) PROTESTER (NAME AND SURNAME WITHHELD), SAYING: "Mesut Ozil's honourable behaviour inspired us. We thank him." (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) PROTESTER AND KORAN TEACHER, HATICE IMAMOGLU, SAYING: "We want everybody to raise their voice like he did. We are a handful of Muslims here, our voice is not loud enough but on his own, Mesut Ozil's voice alarmed the entire China to stand up. We want all our artists to do the same." PROTESTERS CHANTING (Turkish) "EAST TURKESTAN IS NOT ALONE" VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS WEARING MASK WITH EAST TURKESTAN FLAG AND HAND IN COLOURS OF CHINESE FLAG COVERING MOUTH, DEMONSTRATING (SOUNDBITE) (Turkish) PROTESTER AND LAWYER, SAIT CEYLAN, SAYING: "Once Mesut Ozil shared that post, there was a serious interaction. Chinese TV banned the matches of Mesut Ozil's team Arsenal. Even this shows how big Mesut Ozil played." VARIOUS PROTESTERS RAISING THEIR FISTS, SHINING MOBILE PHONE TORCHES AND CHANTING SLOGANS
- Embargoed: 3rd January 2020 19:22
- Keywords: Arsenal midfielder China Mesut Ozil Uighur Turks Xinjiang rights
- Location: ISTANBUL, TURKEY
- City: ISTANBUL, TURKEY
- Country: Turkey
- Topics: Fundamental Rights/Civil Liberties,Government/Politics,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA001BAS6D6V
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Thousands of protesters marched in support of China's Uighurs in Istanbul on Friday (December 20) and voiced solidarity with Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil after the furore caused by his criticism of China's policies toward the Muslim minority.
The crowd held up banners reading "Stop the cruelty" and chanted "East Turkestan is not alone", the name that Uighur exiles use for Xinjiang.
Soccer star Ozil, a German Muslim of Turkish origin, posted messages on social media last week calling minority Uighurs "warriors who resist persecution" and criticised both China's crackdown and the silence of Muslims in response.
The United Nations and human rights groups estimate that between 1 million and 2 million people, mostly ethnic Uighur Muslims, have been detained in harsh conditions in Xinjiang as part of what Beijing calls an anti-terrorism campaign.
China has repeatedly denied any mistreatment of Uighurs and its foreign ministry said Ozil "had been completely deceived by fake news and false statements".
Last Saturday (December 14), Ozil's club Arsenal tried to distance itself from his comments, saying it always adhered to the principle of not being involved in politics.
(Production: Bulent Usta, Yesim Dikmen, Aiden Nulty)
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