It started with hundreds of peaceful protesters resisting the demolition of Gezi Park, one of the very few green spaces left in the center of Istanbul. There are plans to replace it with yet another shopping mall. The disproportionate police response to the peaceful Gezi protests has triggered a nationwide revolt within a matter of days. What we have witnessed since the early hours of 30 May is not only a display of the collective will of Istanbul residents claiming their right to the city but also a broad- based rebellion against the authoritarianism of Turkey’s conservative neo-liberal Islamist government.
Hundreds of thousands of people of all ages and political stripes have united around slogans such as “shoulder to shoulder against fascism,” and calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan. The protests have spread from Istanbul to Ankara, İzmir, Adana, Eskişehir, Samsun, Konya and Mersin among other cities, despite the brutal and relentless attacks by the police. From the very beginning of the protests, Turkish police used water cannons and tear gas against the demonstrators. The streets of Istanbul and other cities have become battlefields; hundreds have been hospitalized and several unconfirmed deaths have been reported.