Group stands against 'standing man' in Istanbul protest square

Group stands against 'standing man' in Istanbul protest square

Group stands against standing man in Istanbul protest square

A group of eight men responded to the initial 'standing man' protest with a counter-protest. In the end they only stayed for 30 minutes before leaving Taksim Square. DHA Photo

A group of eight men held a counter-protest in Taksim Square against the anti-government demonstrators whose “standing” protest entered its third day on June 19.

Eight men, wearing t-shirts on which was written “Man standing against the ‘standing man’” arrived to stand in front of the original protestors in the afternoon.

The so-called “standing man” protest started on June 17, when performance artist Erdem Gündüz stood in front of the Atatürk Culture Center in Taksim Square without speaking or moving for more than five hours, as part of the ongoing Gezi Park protests. Many men and women inspired by Gündüz’s solo protest have held similar protests in several cities including Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir since then.

Some read books while standing, others held a sit-in protest and one man dressed in a traditional costume. Some stand for hours, some for a few minutes, but these new silent protests seem to be the new phenomenon of the Gezi Park protests.

Police members also read books

Among those whose who were reading books were also members of the police. Upon the initiative of Istanbul's Police Department, an itinerant library has been set up with more than 100 books from Tolstoy's classics to the essays of the renowned Turkish psychologist Doğan Cüceloğlu's, which focus mostly on communication skills. Whatever they were reading, many of the officers standing guard on the steps of Taksim Square held a book in their hand.

Several people held a standing protest in Ankara at the exact place where Ethem Sarısülük was killed allegedly due to a gunshot by a police officer during the demonstrations.

In İzmir one demonstrator held a “standing” protest for 24 hours, Doğan news agency reported. Erdal Çoban started his standing protest at Gündoğdu Square in İzmir and stood drinking only mineral water and water for 24 hours. He was wearing the costume of an efe, local bandits from Ottoman times, and had dyed his body silver. Many others joined him, standing around or taking pictures with him.

Meanwhile, after Gezi Park was sealed off from protesters, many people started to gather at other parks in Istanbul at around 9:00 p.m. to hold discussions.

On June 19 parks including Abbasağa Park, Maçka Park in Beşiktaş, Yoğurtçu Park in Kadıköy, Çarşı Park in Ümraniye, Cihangir Park in Beyoğlu and Saraçhane Park in Fatih were cited as the places to gather and talk in calls distributed via social media.

Protests continue all night long in Eskişehir

As the tension of the protests started to calm down in big cities, the Central Anatolian province of Eskişehir staged a police intervention with gas bombs and water cannons against nearly 5,000 protesters’ all-night action late on June 18.

Three protesters, a journalist and a police officer were injured in the police intervention, Doğan news agency reported.

Slogans like “everywhere Taksim, everywhere resistance” and “government resign” were chanted by the crowd in front of a mall called Espark in the city’s Eskibağlar neighborhood.

The police’s heavy crackdown managed to disperse the group; however a group of 500 people stayed in the mall and blocked the way in front of it.

The clashes lasted until 5 a.m. on June 19. Eskişehir has been one of the most remarkable provinces in Turkey, attending Gezi Park protests across the country from the very beginning of the Occupy Taksim movement.