‘It is only the beginning, our struggle continues’: #OccupyGezi

The protests have spread from Istan­bul


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.

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