Sunday, September 22, 2013

With tanks to tents

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Eye witness account about Gezi Park

We might remember the shocking images on TV about the demonstrations at Gezi Park inTaksim square in Istanbul. What we might not have realized is that also in Izmir and Ankara and the seaside resorts there were daily demonstrations for change, for more freedom, for a secular society. Basically it was a non-violent demonstration to protect ‘our’ lifestyle in Turkey, says Zeynep. Workers, students, intellectuals were in the street, on the square. Families with children stood there to show they want the park as a meeting point, protected the trees, stood for equality between men and women, the freedom to drink alcohol, against the forbidding of abortion. Men and women sat together on the benches in the park. Gezi Park became a focal point for those who claim the right to an individual life. Lawyers and the board of lawyers defended those who were arrested and accused. All places, caf├ęs, bars opened their doors when protestors had to flee for the brutal police attacks, thus offering real protection to the protesters. Sexist slogans were erased and replaced by human slogans... people brought food and drinks to the square so that the protestors could stay. The sad statistic is: six young people died, eleven lost their eyesight through teargas, 1100 people are still suffering the consequences of the violence which wounded over 8.000 young people. The government never spoke about these brave young people but praised the way the police handled the squashing of the demonstration and protests. Journalist writing about it were sacked by their newspaper for reporting about Gezi Park. During the whole time TV aired documentaries about penguins ...
It was a spontaneous protest in defense of individual freedom. The protestors were not part of a political party but the protest was truly political.

Thank you Zeynep for your moving testimony!

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