Gezi Park protesters call for mass demonstration on Sunday
Protesters were removing the barricades standing at the entrance of the park from the Taksim Square on June 14. AA photoThe protesters have announced today that they would stay at Istanbul’s “symbolic” Gezi Park, calling for a big demonstration tomorrow to commemorate the four victims since the beginning of the protests.
“For those who ask what we will do, we say clearly that we won’t leave Gezi Park that has become a symbol. The question of how we will stay and the steps that will be made from now on will be decided by those who have made great efforts for this place,” the platform said in a statement in the afternoon.
Social media users shared the platform’s call for tomorrow’s demonstration with the hashtag “a million tomorrow to Taksim” in Twitter, after the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave one day to the protesters to evacuate the park. Erdoğan warned during a mass rally in Ankara that police would intervene if the park was not evacuated.
The demonstration at Gezi Park is set to start at 4 p.m. The Turkish prime minister will be holding another mass rally at the same hour a few kilometers away, at the Kazlıçeşme Square.
After deciding to pursue their sit-in despite the government’s assurance that it will comply with a court decision that suspends the redevelopment plans for Gezi Park, protesters agreed to remove barricades around the site as well as all political banners from the park.
The barricades standing at the entrance of the park from the Taksim Square were removed in the afternoon by protesters while the park was being cleared of banners that belong to parties and other organizations. Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder, who was the first politician to go to the park in the beginning of the protests and had stopped dozers from demolishing the trees, has personally removed today the banners of his party together with another deputy, Sabahat Tuncel, according to daily Radikal.
Most of the groups of the 116 organizations that form the Taksim Solidarity Platform had also agreed to pursue the demonstration with one sole and common tent. The protesters who set up their own tents would make their own decisions about whether or not to stay at the park, daily Radikal reported.
The platform also called for the release of those who were arrested and still in custody as well as the investigation of those responsible for the violent police crackdowns, adding that they would closely follow the realization of these demands.
The pre-condition was not the ending of this struggle, but its amplification. It is out of the question that in a climate in which everybody is forced to obey, the social sensibility that made its print on the fate of the country could be directed from above,” the statement said.
Representatives of the Taksim Solidarity Platform, who had a late night meeting with Prime Minister Erdoğan on June 13, informed the protesters at the park about the content of the discussions. The protesters debated throughout the night their next move in seven different discussion forums to reach a common decision.