Besiktas fans hold placard during the UEFA Champions League play-off first leg match between Besiktas and Arsenal at Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey on August 19, 2014.

Image: Erhan Elaldi/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
By Sam Laird2014-08-20 01:35:58 UTC

Protests over the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, have officially gone worldwide, even reaching a Champions League soccer match in Turkey.

The photo above comes from Tuesday’s Champions League play-off match between Premier League side Arsenal and host Besiktas in Istanbul, nearly 6,000 miles from where the unarmed Brown, who was black, was shot dead by a white police officer. The fans shown are wearing Besiktas jerseys.

Witnesses say Brown was gunned down Aug. 9 while standing in surrender with his hands up. Nightly protests since then have seesawed on the brink of utter mayhem as frustration among residents builds.

A group of Washington Redskins players gestured in support of Brown before their NFL game on Monday night. But seeing the conversation reach a sporting event in Turkey is a powerful new illustration of how the shooting of an unarmed black American teenager by a white police officer has resonated not just in the United States.

Compounding the image’s resonance is Turkey’s own recent history with violent clashes between police and protesters. In 2013, the world watched as police officers used tear gas on protesters upset about what critics see as the authoritarian rule of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Those protest flared up again this spring after a teenage boy died from injuries sustained in the unrest of 2013. During this year’s presidential campaign season, Erdoğan was rebuked worldwide for blocking Twitter and pledging to “eradicate” the service.

It’s a sad indictment of the situation in Ferguson that people in a county many Americans pitied for civil unrest and police brutality just months ago are now the ones expressing support for a similar situation here Stateside.

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