Democracy Now! - October 12, 2015

As many as 128 people died in Turkey Saturday when nearly simultaneous explosions ripped through a pro-peace rally in the country’s capital of Ankara. More than 245 people were injured. The bombs went off just as Kurdish groups, trade unions and leftist organizations were preparing to begin a march protesting the resumption of fighting between the Turkish state and Kurdish militants. Earlier today, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu blamed ISIL for carrying out the attack. But march organizers accused the government of failing to prevent it. Saturday’s bombing occurred three weeks before Turkey’s snap parliamentary elections. Tensions in Turkey have escalated since June, when the ruling AKP party lost its parliamentary majority in a major defeat for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The opposition HDP party won 13 percent of the vote, securing seats in Parliament for the first time. Since the elections, hostilities between Turkish security forces and Kurdish militants have sharply escalated. We speak to Turkish parliamentarian Hisyar Özsoy and UCLA professor Asli Ü. Bâli.

Tens of thousands from across the country gathered on the National Mall in Washington Saturday for the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. The rally commemorated the 1995 event, when Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan called African-American men to the nation’s capital for a "day of atonement." This year’s rally, themed "Justice or Else," called for an end to police brutality and demanded justice for communities of color, women and the poor, and was more inclusive than the first. Among this year’s crowd were women and other people of color, including Native Americans who are calling for a renaming of Columbus Day, the federal holiday that commemorates the arrival of Christopher Columbus to the so-called New World in 1492. The holiday has long evoked sadness and anger among Native Americans who object to honoring the man who opened the land to European colonization and the exploitation of native peoples. We speak with Larry Hamm, chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress, who was at the first Million Man March in 1995 and also attended the 20th anniversary march, and Gyasi Ross, author, speaker, lawyer and member of the Blackfeet Nation.

As Democratic presidential candidates including Sen. Bernie Sanders prepare for the first debate Tuesday, we talk to Gyasi Ross about his recent piece on TheStranger.com, "I Support Bernie Sanders for President and I Also Support the Black Lives Matter Takeover in Seattle." Ross was in attendance when Black Lives Matters activists disrupted a Sanders appearance in Seattle.

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