Football fans leave a mark in Taksim

Football fans leave a mark in Taksim

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Football fans leave a mark in Taksim

Members of Beşiktaş fan group Çarşı carry a banner that reads ‘We’ve learned how to love in the stands and how to fight from Marx’ at the May Day march. AA photo

One of the most colorful groups participating in International Workers’ Day in Taksim Square yesterday were football fans from the three major rival clubs who left their rivalries on the football field and marched shoulder to shoulder.

Fenerbahçe fans marched with a photo of the imprisoned chairman of their team, Aziz Yıldırım, and they chanted slogans like “Cemaat (Gülen Community) cannot cope with Fenerbahçe,” referring to claims the Fethullah Gülen movement was behind the match-fixing case filed against Fenerbahçe.

“We are here for President Aziz. We heard that he submitted his nomination for the post again. We believe he is innocent and we will always support him,” Halil Avcı, a Fenerbahçe fan, said.

Galatasaray fans also attended the celebrations with a crowded group carrying a banner that read “Football’s killer is the federation (Turkish Football Federation).”

The passionate Beşiktaş fan group, “Çarşı,” also attended the march, as it always does, with a large group. They chanted slogans like “Say no to fascism.”

Journalists demanding press freedom were also among the groups celebrating May Day in Taksim Square. Journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener, who were released from prison about one month ago, also marched with their colleagues.

Theater actors and actresses also attended Labor Day with banners protesting the change in the administration of Istanbul playhouses and the privatization of the state-funded theaters.

The common thing between the football fans and theater actors were the slogans they chanted against the “Cemaat” (Gülen community), who they believed was behind the changes in the rules and regulations of the theaters. “Cemaat, pull your hand out of the theaters,” actors and actresses chanted during their march.

Members of gay and lesbian associations were some of the most eye-catching groups in the crowd with their colorful outfits. They attended the celebrations with a large rainbow flag.