Madness in Taksim: how the people brought flowers and the police answered with water cannon

They came in peace, bearing flowers for the dead. And the police answered them with water cannon and clubs, tear gas and rubber bullets. What new madness was this? In Taksim Square today Recep Tayyip Erdogan's police turned a peaceful, non-violent protest into a night of mayhem. As I write, police are chasing protestors through the back streets of Beyoglu, usually one of busiest night life areas of the city, tear gassing bars and restaurants, and terrorising people in their homes. Huge … [Read more...]

A Night in Istanbul

As night fell over Istanbul, the tear gas drifted across the city and everywhere there was the sound of people banging pots and pans in protest at the government. I write from a friend's apartment. On his ancient stereo, The Clash are playing Know Your Rights, which seems appropriate. I have a glass of home-made cider by my side. For much of the evening we have been holed up here, unable to move because of the riot police on the street outside. They frequently fire tear gas. At one point … [Read more...]

Marching to Taksim

Tens of thousands were on the march in Istanbul tonight. Perhaps hundreds of thousands. They came onto the streets all of a sudden, in a spontaneous outpouring of anger when they heard the police had moved in to Gezi Park. They came unarmed and peaceful, offering nothing but their voices and their presence. And the police answered them with violence, with tear gas and batons, with rubber bullets and charges. This was Recep Tayyip Erdogan's application for the presidency of his country, … [Read more...]