Have you ever gone from a wedding to a protest? I have. Two nights ago my two buddies had a wedding. It was beautiful. Outside of the city chaos and mayhem we were surrounded by trees, clean (gas free) air, and of course, two happy people surrounded by their friends and family tying their knots for their lifetime.
But all of us, friends, were torn. We spent a good half of the wedding checking Twitter (because traditional media been pretty much silent for the past few days) trying to stay tuned. Every minute there was something- but the worst news were coming from a neighborhood called Besiktas. Located not far from the Besiktas Soccer Stadium. Besiktas is a lively residential district popular not only among Besiktas soccer team fans but also among locals. The night before, some of my friends were there, but instead of enjoying the fresh fish from the local bazar or a stroll through some of the cobble stone streets, they were greeted with tear gas and police. For the past two nights, this neighborhood turned into a war zone - clashes between riot police and the protestors. There were many injured. People were tweeting pictures that looked nothing short of a movie set of some war/out-of-this-word zone.
The wedding was over, and so we drove back to city center. Talking to passer by who were coming back from Besiktas we didn't hear anything good- tear gas, pepper gas, some even thought police was using something called orange gas. To protect themselves protesters used a mix of talcid and water, milk, lemon, goggles, masks, hard construction hats- basically anything that can protect one's body against possible attack.
We too packed our bags and started walking. It is hard to describe what I saw so I am just going to share photographs:
|Near Besiktas Inonu Stadium- night of June 2nd|
|Barricades on the way to Taksim near Besiktas Inonu Stadium- night of June 2nd circa 3am|
|Taksim square- Morning of June 2nd, around 3.30am|
|I took photo above in the afternoon of June 1st, the photo below is the same spot at around 3am on June 2nd|
|Above Taksim square, May 31st, people running from tear gas, below Taksim square, June 2 early morning, people no longer running|
|"Don't be silent"|
I came home frustrated. The looting was affecting the whole purpose of resistance. It was becoming violent and this was not the original intention. But then it was inevitable I suppose. The anger and frustration of the people has grown out of proportions and it is no longer about trees and park. Its about something much bigger- something that is called AKP.
So far, the authorities have failed to understand this, and that is why people are continuing to resist. And looks like will continue because its no longer few hundred people, green activists protecting trees, its about over 60 cities of Turkey where thousands of people are protesting the regime and calling for PM's resignation.
Stay tuned, more updates are coming.