LOCAL > Woman in black, one of the Gezi Park heroes, wanted to show protests’ peacefulness


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AFP Photo

AFP Photo

The woman in a black dress who became a hero during the Gezi Park protests after standing in front of a Mass Incident Intervention Vehicle (TOMA) in Istanbul, said her move was intended to show how the protests were truly peaceful despite the violence, BBC Türkçe has reported.

Kate Mullen, an Australian exchange student in Turkey, became one of the most remarkable and effective symbols of the Gezi Park protests across the country when a photo depicting her standing alone in front of a TOMA spraying water directly at her shook social media.

Mullen said she had felt like she owed the protesters something, feeling solidarity after taking part in the demonstrations, and wanted show the world something in response to the mainstream media’s stance on the incidents.

“This photo was taken on Saturday morning. I had been taking part in the demonstrations since Friday night and had not slept yet. [I was] subjected to tear gas in three different incidents during the night. I felt that I owed something to this movement in solidarity with the protesters,” she said. “We all knew that the Turkish media was not broadcasting any of these protests and how important it was to spread the incidents through the media.” 

Mullen and a group of people were chanting slogans near the German Hospital in Sıraselviler near Taksim Square in front the TOMA before the photo was taken.

“I realized that there was a group of photographers near the TOMA and I decided to stand in front of it and open my arms in order to emphasize the peacefulness of the protests despite the violence,” Muller told BBC Türkçe. “I was not scared. I did not believe [they] would really spray water, but thought that if they did, the photograph would be amazing.”

Mullen had not thought the shot would become a symbol.

“The photograph is not about me anymore. If we think on a general scale, my action is nothing,” she said. “It’s not more courageous than protesters who did the same things or more. The woman in black is not me anymore.”


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Quentin Poulsen

6/28/2013 11:42:24 PM

The 'Anglophone' world is busy pulverising Muslim countries with bombs and oppressing its own ethnic minotiries and native peoples, David. Too bad so many from those parts have been brainwashed into imagining themselves the agents of freedom/ Nothing could be further from the truth. I agree with John. A guest in this country would be better off staying out of it, regarldess where their sentiments lie.


6/26/2013 12:10:04 AM

Mullen or Kullen, whichever you are -- I've seen both reported, you're a fine Aussie Irish lass. Good for you!

Çılgın Kanarya

6/25/2013 11:47:31 PM

JOHN ALBAY, I believe you when you say that you hope she isn't deported. But, based on some of your other comments, you would probably like to see her hung from a lamp post and stoned to death instead!

john albay

6/25/2013 10:36:32 PM

This woman is a guest in Turkey and she should not involve herself in the internal affairs of Turkey! (Even is she is correct,we have enough brave woman to do that,we dont need non turks to do that!) I hope she will not be deported even if I think that only Turkish people should be involved in Turkish affairs.

Roger Harding

6/25/2013 9:43:30 PM

What a fantastic Aussie. Thousands of Turkish women fronted the protests so fearlessly along with her. They showed Tayyip what courage and non-violence is all about. Great it came from women. A group Tayyip and his backers are obsessed with opressing.

David Cuthell

6/25/2013 6:09:06 PM

"And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda"...for those who think the U.S. doesn't care check your history books with respect to the Aussies as well a every years Gallipoli events. The Anglophone world cares and is watching. Deeds speak louder than words! Bless her and her courage!

Çılgın Kanarya

6/25/2013 2:47:10 PM

Kate, on behalf of all secular, freedom loving Turks, thank you very much for putting yourself in harm's way to raise awareness of the fascist police brutality which we are frequently subjected to, just for having the temerity to assemble in public squares and campaign for our most basic human and civil rights to be respected.
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