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


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AFP Photo

AFP Photo

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

KateMullen, an Australian exchange student in Turkey, became one of the mostremarkable and effective symbols of the Gezi Park protests across the countrywhen a photo depicting her standing alone in front of a TOMA spraying waterdirectly at her shook social media.

Mullensaid she had felt like she owed the protesters something, feeling solidarityafter taking part in the demonstrations, and wanted show the world something inresponse to the mainstream media’s stance on the incidents.

“Thisphoto was taken on Saturday morning. I had been taking part in thedemonstrations since Friday night and had not slept yet. [I was] subjected totear gas in three different incidents during the night. I felt that I owedsomething to this movement in solidarity with the protesters,” she said. “Weall knew that the Turkish media was not broadcasting any of these protests andhow important it was to spread the incidents through the media.” 

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

“Irealized that there was a group of photographers near the TOMA and I decided tostand in front of it and open my arms in order to emphasize the peacefulness ofthe 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 theydid, the photograph would be amazing.”

Mullenhad not thought the shot would become a symbol.

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


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