Team work of united ultras set Taksim ‘on fire’
People burn fireworks on June 8 during a demonstration on Taksim square in Istanbu. AFP photo
Tens of thousands filled Taksim Square June 8 a week after the police’s withdrawal from Gezi Park to hold one of the biggest demonstrations since the beginning of the protests.
The ultras of two irreconcilable football clubs of Istanbul – Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe – had called on supporters to join the demonstration and stood in the forefront of the massive protest. Fans of Galatasaray and other clubs have also joined them at the Taksim square, displaying flares like in the stadiums. The fans shouted “Everywhere is resistance” in unison in an unprecedented scene.
Some protesters took the roof of the Atatürk Cultural Center (AKM) to set up flares, creating a firework spectacle. The building, in renovation since years, became another of the symbols of the demonstrations as the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has also vowed to replace it to build an opera.
The roads connecting to Taksim were also congested with protesters. Other small-scale demonstrations were organized too in many points around the Taksim Square, such as Sıraselviler, Tünel, Elmadağ and Tarlabaşı.
After police withdrew from the square and the adjacent Gezi Park, demonstrators took over and set tents just as the activists of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The Park became gradually an entity of its own, with its free market, libraries, playgrounds and even makeshift classrooms where students have the opportunity to prepare their approaching exams without leaving the park.