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Istanbul Soccer Fans Throw Thousands Of Stuffed Animals Onto Pitch For Child Earthquake Survivors

Fans of Turkish soccer team Beşiktaş flooded the pitch with stuffed animals to donate to the child victims of the recent earthquakes that rocked Turkey and Syria and claimed over 45,000 lives.

Soccer pitch strewn with thousands of plush animals
Huseyin Yavuz / dia images via Getty Images

Soccer fans in Istanbul threw thousands of stuffed animals and toys onto a soccer field in support of child survivors, and to commemorate child victims, from the catastrophic earthquakes that hit Turkey and Syria.

The combined death toll from the earthquakes in both countries surpassed 50,000 lives.

To allow for the donations in remembrance of the young victims, Sunday's game was paused at 4 minutes and 17 seconds to correspond with the time of the first earthquake–which struck at 4:17 a.m. local time on February 6.

Toys of various colors and sizes filled the pitch at Beşiktaş' home stadium of Vodafone Park during their match against Antalyaspor.

Beşiktaş will donate the toys to the survivors.

Here is a video of stadium patrons participating in the "This Toy is For You" event by showering the pitch with plush toys.

Here is a clip of the collected bags of toys, which included a monkey plush attached with a letter appearing to be hand-written by a child.

Here is another impressive view from the event.

Social media users reached for boxes of tissues after viewing the epic gesture of goodwill.

According to CNN, players rushed to collect the toy donations as the scoreboard displayed license plate numbers representing the eleven Turkish provinces impacted by the earthquakes.

Some fans denounced the Turkish government for its poor response to the disaster and chanted, “government resign."

In response to the anti-government sentiment, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s partner in government–the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) head Devlet Bahçeli–quit his Beşiktaş membership and also called for soccer matches to resume without fans.

The Turkish interior ministry’s disaster and emergency management authority reported that 44,000 people have been confirmed dead from the earthquakes that reached 7.7 and 7.6 on the Richter scale in the southeastern city of Kahramanmaraş.

Reuters also reported the earthquakes claimed 5,000 lives in Syria, making the combined death toll with Turkey to surpass 50,000.