Gezi Park protests commemorated on Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue
Eyüp Serbest – ISTANBUL
Hundreds of people, including lawmakers from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), marched down Istanbul’s İstiklal Avenue on the evening of May 31 to mark the fourth anniversary of Gezi Park protests, Turkey’s largest-ever civil uprising.
The group, which was joined by the families of protesters who lost their lives during the protests in 2013, gathered around the Chamber of Mechanical Engineers (TMMOB) at around 7 p.m. local time and marched until the police barricades at Taksim Square.
Demonstrators staged a sit-in protest after being prevented from advancing further toward Gezi Park.
Demonstrators chanted the names of those killed in the 2013 protests, shouting, “They are alive” in unison.
“Our Gezi resistance that stood as an example to the world, that gave hope, of which those in power were scared like a ghost, is four years old today,” said Mücella Yapıcı, a prominent member of the Taksim Solidarity Platform and an urban planner. “Those in power are still scared of the Gezi resistance four years on and keep harping on it. They are right in being scared.”
Meanwhile in Ankara, several CHP deputies were seen wearing T-shirts with pictures of the Gezi victims in the general assembly of the parliament on the same day. The T-shirts said, “No, it is not over, the struggle continues, Gezi is in its fourth year.”
The Gezi protests erupted on May 27, 2013, when a small group of protesters refused to leave Gezi Park in Taksim to prevent the cutting of trees where a large development project was planned by the government.
Following the government’s harsh response, protests spread to the whole country on May 31, 2013. Eight young people were killed in police violence over the subsequent summer.