Gezi wedding intervention adds to nationwide tension

Gezi wedding intervention adds to nationwide tension

ISTANBUL – Hürriyet Daily News
Gezi wedding intervention adds to nationwide tension

Turkish police attempt to disperse anti-government protestors during a demonstration near the entrance of Taksim Square on July 20, 2013, in Istanbul. AFP PHOTO /BULENT KILIC

Nationwide events linked to Gezi Park continued to unfold throughout the weekend in Turkey, as the symbolic wedding ceremony set to take place at Taksim’s green spot was prevented by order of Istanbul Governor Hüseyin Avni Mutlu.

The park was abruptly closed to the public in the evening hours of July 20, the date of the planned wedding of Nuray and Özgür, who had come to public attention after they announced their wedding on social media outlets, inviting all to join in. The couple met during the Gezi unrest when Nuray, a trained nurse, turned her house into an infirmary, where Özgür also entered to help treat the injured.

The wedding has been a subject of anticipation over the past few days, with the publicized couple repeating their wish to marry at the site which had become so symbolic for them, and for the country. Events took a different turn, however, on the set day of the wedding when the park was shut down on the instruction of the Istanbul Governor, according to daily Hürriyet.

The rising tension caused protesters at the site to argue with police officers, who had surrounded the park and refused them entry, and soon police forces intervened with water cannon against the crowd that had gathered for the event. Protesters were pushed back to Istiklal Avenue, where officers continued to chase them into side streets.

The couple, meanwhile, moved their ceremony to the Şişli district, where they read the names of each of the victims who had died during the Gezi events, and finalized their unity. When they decided to walk back to Taksim Square, police forces interrupted the group, causing a small scuffle to erupt.
The couple were also stopped at the entrance of the park when they tried to enter, causing further arguments and fighting. One of the high-ranking officials however soon intervened, and instructed police forces to allow the couple to enter the park.

The park was reopened to public use in the later hours of the day.

Nationwide protests

İzmir and Ankara also witnessed protests in support of the ongoing Gezi movement, with police forces detaining at least five protesters in the capital city.

A group attempted to march towards Dikmen Street and refused to disperse when officials issued a warning. Police then intervened with tear gas and water cannons against the crowd. Five protesters were detained for allegedly setting garbage containers on fire during the demonstration.

Groups in İzmir also gathered to commemorate Abdullah Cömert, Mehmet Ayvalıtaş, Ethem Sarısülük and Ali İsmail Korkmaz, who lost their lives during the protests. Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Gökçe Pişkin also accompanied the protesters, as well as relatives of Sarısülük.