Gezi protest icon ‘woman in red’ cleared of ‘provocation’ charges
The scene in which Ceyda Sungur slowly walked away in her red dress after tear gas was sprayed into her face marked an embryonic phase of the protests. DAILY NEWS photoCeyda Sungur, one of the icons of the Gezi Park protests known as the “woman in red,” was cleared of charges of “provoking people to disobey laws” on Jan. 15, after the court ruled for a dismissal of the charges.
The decision comes soon after prosecutors demanded up to three years in prison for the police officer who sprayed tear gas at Sungur without any physical or verbal provocation.
Istanbul Public Prosecutor Hüseyin Nazmi Okumuş dropped the charges against five protesters, including Sungur, affiliated with the Istanbul Technical University (İTÜ), who were present during the incident on May 31.
The prosecutor said in his decision that Sungur, an academic at İTU, was preparing a list of injured protesters who needed a medical assistance, along with university students.
The scene in which she slowly walked away after tear gas was sprayed into her face marked an embryonic phase of the protests, increasing the outcry that would ultimately lead to them spreading across the country.
Earlier on Jan. 15, a prosecutor charged that the officer who fired the tear gas, identified only as F.Z., violated regulations on police actions during unrest, as well as the regulation on the use of tear gas.
He also stated that F.Z. was less than one meter from Sungur, and that he targeted her face with the chemical agent without warning, continuing to spray the gas even after she had turned her head.
The attempt to save the last green area in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square evolved into the country’s largest turmoil in recent history, with prolonged protests across the country, resulting in the deaths of six protesters and one police officer. Thousands of people were also injured as a result of sustained police brutality.