Police blockade the rally in Trabzon, Turkey. People in revolt: “You can’t live with these low raises; we can’t breathe!”

Wage increases based on the inflation rates announced by the politicized, unreliable TUIK cause the people to become more impoverished every day. Since the first days of the new year, the increase in the minimum wage, civil servants' salaries, and pensioners has melted away and evaporated before they even enter workers’ pockets. Our working people are not responsible for this crisis. Workers are forced to pay the price for a crisis they are not responsible for. We are not. We want what's ours, our right, our human dignity, an equal, just life.

Police blockade the rally in Trabzon, Turkey.  People in revolt: “You can’t live with these low raises; we can’t breathe!”

Citizens gathered in front of the Meydan Post Office in Trabzon were prevented by police from marching to the Meydan Park.

Citizens gathered in front of the Meydan Post Office in Trabzon were prevented from marching to Meydan Park. The police stopped the citizens and announced they would not allow the legal, legitimate, and peaceful march because “There is a verbal order from the Governor’s Office.”
After being blocked by the police, the press release was held in front of the Meydan Post Office.

We can’t breathe!

The full press release reads:

We are experiencing one of the most profound political and economic crises in the country’s history. Successive increases in all products from food to natural gas, from fuel to electricity, have made the lives of large segments of society that live off their labor unsustainable. To the point where large parts of society that live off their labor cannot meet their most basic needs
The numbers show poverty clearly. The hunger limit of a family of four exceeded 4 thousand TL, the poverty line exceeded 13 thousand TL, and the cost of living of a single employee exceeded 5 thousand TL. We can’t breathe any more; we can’t get along.
Even the TUIK, the government’s statistics department, figures show the highest inflation in 19 years. However, the increases reflected in the bazaar, the market, and the kitchen show that the cost of living we live in is at least twice the inflation of TUIK. We can’t pay our bills or access healthy food products. The fire in the bazaar has engulfed the kitchen and blacked out the empty pots.
Wage increases based on the inflation rates announced by the politicized, unreliable TUIK cause the people to become more impoverished every day. Since the first days of the new year, the increase in the minimum wage, civil servants’ salaries, and pensioners has melted away and evaporated before they even enter workers’ pockets.
Our working people are not responsible for this crisis. Workers are forced to pay the price for a crisis they are not responsible for. We are not. We want what’s ours, our right, our human dignity, an equal, just life.
All over our country, for a long time, public workers, workers, peasants, pensioners, tradespeople, students, unemployed people continue to voice the difficulties they face due to the rising cost of living and hikes.
The demands of millions of workers for a decent wage and better working conditions, and to live humanely continue to resonate in squares and workplaces all over our country.
We expect the political power that governs the country to heed these demands and immediately implement solutions that will breathe life into those who live off their labor. The task of the government is not to ignore, hide, and suppress the demands of the people; instead, it is to produce solutions, to establish humane living conditions by raising the welfare of the society.
The economic crisis is not fought by ignoring it. The way out of the crisis is through labor-oriented policies, disseminating public understanding, and establishing an economic structure based on production.
The way out of the crisis is to listen to the voice of labor, the demand of the people. Hear that voice now. The knife is in the bone!
The people of this country, the workers, need to breathe now.

Demands

As parts of the Platform of Labor and Democracy, with the awareness of our duty to our members and people, we once again appeal to the government: so that the wider population is saved from the crisis;
• All increases to basic necessities such as electricity, natural gas, fuel, and transportation, especially food products, should be withdrawn immediately, and taxes should be reduced.
• Direct income support should be provided to all those who lost their jobs in the crisis and whose incomes decreased.
• Layoffs should be banned; necessary measures should be taken to protect employment.
• The basic requirements of those living below the poverty line must be met.
• Tax injustice should be stopped, the share of indirect taxes should be reduced, and a system should be established in which those earning more should be taxed more.
• Guaranteed payments indexed to foreign currency to subsidiaries should be canceled.
• The minimum pension should be raised to at least the minimum wage level, and pension entitlements should be granted to those who live in retirement.
• Barriers to fundamental rights and freedoms, especially the right to freedom of association, thought, and expression, should be removed; repression, exile, punishment and investigations must be stopped.
• The marketization, liquidation, and privatization of public services must stop.
• Privatization should be stopped immediately, and privatized public enterprises, especially energy companies, should be nationalized.
Energy is a public service. Its production, transmission, and distribution should not be left to private companies’ profit ambition and mercy. Energy supply should be established by the public in the public interest.
As the representative and voice of our millions of citizens who live off their labor, we will not allow the people to be impoverished, plunged into misery, or the country’s resources to be depleted.
We will continue to pursue and fight together for our demands for a humane living wage, humane living conditions, and a democratic Turkey.
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