Uyghurs in Turkey call for Beijing Games boycott

The Beijing Olympics opened on Friday (February 4) in the shadow of a diplomatic boycott over China's human-rights record and devoid of most spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"China stop the genocide," "Muslims don't sleep, stand up for your brothers," chanted the protesters, who briefly blocked a road and scuffled with lines of Turkish riot police as they tried to march up a hill towards the Chinese consulate.

"These Olympics are being held not on snow, but on blood," said one protester, 26-year-old student Abdullah Mudinoglu.

Many protesters, gathered on Istanbul's waterfront, waved the blue-and-white flags of the independence movement of East Turkestan, a group Beijing says threatens the stability of its far western region of Xinjiang.

Some 50,000 Uyghurs are estimated to live in Turkey, the largest Uyghur diaspora outside Central Asia. Turks have close ethnic, religious and linguistic ties to the Uyghurs.