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Turkish Police Arrest Dozens for Tweeting About Protests, Accuse Them of 'Inciting Hatred'

Erdogan calls social media a 'scourge.'
 
 
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Twitter, championed as a tool of free expression during the Arab Spring, was facing censorship charges after announcing it can now block tweets on a country-by-country basis if legally required to do so.

 

At least 25 people have been arrested in Turkey for tweeting about protests that started last week. The activists arrested Wednesday in Izmir are accused of 'instigating public hatred and animosity' for tweeting logistics about how to engage in demonstrations.  Police tracked down the tweeters through their IP addresses, and raided 38 residences to find them. 

Twitter has played a large role in organizing and spreading international awareness of the protests and police reactions, prompting Prime Minister Erdogan to condemn it as a “scourge."

“There is now a menace which is called Twitter," he said Sunday,"The best examples of lies can be found there. To me, social media is the worst menace to society."

On Tuesday, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc apologized for the violent treatment of protesters last Friday at Taksim Gezi Park.   "The excessive violence that was used in the first instance against those who were behaving with respect for the environment is wrong and unfair. I apologize to those citizens,"  Arinc said at a presser. 

Well, it's a little late for apologies, and PSA: Censorship certainly does not make them seen sincere. 

Kristen Gwynne is an associate editor and drug policy reporter at AlterNet.  Follow her on Twitter: @KristenGwynne

 
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