Iconic pictures from Turkish protests, Taksim Square

Turkey WCs social-pug-icons2

On the left: the ‘Woman in a red dress’ famous for being one of the first victims of the infamous ‘pepper spray’ or tear gas used by the police in recent Turkish protests. The photographs of her being sprayed again and again, clutching her handbag, but not moving an inch have been distributed on social media and held up as a source of inspiration as well as of reassurance that the protestors did not fit any particular image, but could be, if they wanted, stylish young women.

On the right, the ‘standing man’, dancer Erdem Gündüz, who stood in Taksim square for eight hours, in silent, peaceful protest, inspiring others to do the same in Istanbul and other cities. Erdem had also participated in protests against the headscarf ban in universities in 2004. The next standing person of note was a woman, in Ankara.
(This picture was taken in a pub in Eskişehir, a university town in central Anatolia which has been very active in the protests, by a person who prefers to remain anonymous).

The Taksim Square protests did not begin as a reponse to police brutality. It was a peaceful pro-democracy sit-in to save one of the last remaining public parks in a city of almost 14 million people. The government was determined to raze the park to rebuild the old Ottoman military barracks that once stood there and to then turn it into a museum or a mall. It was a decision that was made too fast and without proper public and media debate. Many people, who would opt for a public garden over a shopping mall, felt their voices were not heard by the politicians. Of these, some have ended up occupying Gezi Park. These early protesters came from diverse ideological backgrounds, and among them were even people who had voted in the past for the party in power, the Justice and Development party (AKP).

The harshness of the police treatment of those who occupied Gezi Park changed everything. The protesters’ tents were raided and set on fire.

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~ by artpoped on September 15, 2013.

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