The protests in Turkey that started out as any regular protest in Taksim, was matched with interference like one. This is nothing new in fact, the protests throughout the month of May have been handled in the same way all along. Starting with the May Day, excessive use of tear gas and extreme precautions to not allow people on Taksim Square have been at work. When the demolition of Gezi Park was initiated by municipal works one midnight at the end of May, it brought tens of people in the dead of the night into the park, which grew into almost a thousand by the first lights of dawn. The peaceful protesters came to defend the only remaining green space of the city center with their musical instruments and books, applying excessive intelligence on policemen –as is put by millions now. When the police responded with matching amount of power against peaceful protesters, that happened to be the last drop that spilled everyone’s patience over.
I must admit that if it was not for Pinar Ogun (and many others later) and her live stream video from the park, millions would have been unaware of anything about the park, protest and excessive use of tear gas by police. If we had followed the news from mainstream media it would be reported like any other protest throughout the month if reported at all. But there was live video broadcast by protesters from inside the park, it was possible to see the police forces surround them from all sides shooting canisters onto people and setting fire on their tents. While thousands flooded the park to defend it for the sake of keeping a green spot in the heart of the city, another dawn raid came from the police, nothing like before. This was a triggering moment that turned peaceful protest of some thousand people into a resistance, an occupy movement. Turkish youth were mobilized by the images, by the police-anger against their friends.
As protests spread nationwide, support-protests were held in tens of cities. I have been in Thrace since the beginning, helping friends in a desk-bound resistance manner most of the time. There were supposed to be annual festival in my city, which was interrupted by the news of excessive police force applied to peaceful protesters in Taksim. When we opened our banner in support of Gezi Park, a policeman came asking for us to not become violent. One by one the youth came together, before curious eyes of the people wondering where Gezi Park is and whatever is going on. In the night, there were statements that there would be no police intervention in Thracian cities as long as protesters behaved themselves and not attack anywhere or anyone. From then on, crowds kept growing and growing.
The sad news coming from other cities after excessive police force and the amount of violence resulted in calling off the regular festivals. But seeing no brutality at home, the Thracian resistance turned festive itself. Every night with the protests –that now chant for the resignation of government- there were people singing. After all, when there is no police intervention to people’s call for democratic rights, there is no violence at hand, it is a big festival of liberation through resistance.
Still in many cities in Anatolia, there are tens of cities that witness unmatched brutality by police, and it seems like they are trying to test when the peaceful protesters’ patience cracks or their bones perhaps.
In solidarity with those who are still resisting against brutality—
To live like a tree one and free,
Like a forest in fraternity