Live from Taksim Square

I am not a hoodlum, not an extremist, not a marginal; I am an individual with rights. What began as a peaceful sit-in to protect one... Read more

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I am not a hoodlum, not an extremist, not a marginal; I am an individual with rights. 

What began as a peaceful sit-in to protect one of Istanbul's last public parks has now become a larger movement against an increasingly authoritarian government of AK Party led by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

In its 10the day of protests, the movement calling itself #occupygezi (for English speakers) and  #direngeziparki (for Turkish speakers) (also known as Taksim Dayanism) announced their demands announced yesterday:

  • Gezi Park must stay as a park and that the authorities must announce a unanimous decision that nothing will be built there and it will remain a park from now on;
  • Ataturk Cultural Center (a building right next to Gezi Park) will remain untouched as well;
  • Everyone responsible for the thousands of injured people and two deaths, starting with the Governors and the Police Chiefs of Istanbul, Ankara and Hatay and everyone who prevented the use of the most basic democratic rights of the people; who gave orders for violent repression, enforced or implemented these orders must be dismissed from their posts;
  • The use of tear gas bombs and other similar materials must be prohibited;
  • Detained citizens who attended the protests across the country must be  immediately released and an official statement declaring no further investigation into their cases must be made;
  • Starting with Taksim and Kizilay squares, all the meeting and demonstration bans affecting all of our squares and public areas and all the de- facto blocking of any public gatherings must be abolished;
  • Barriers to freedom of expression must be removed

So far, only Deputy Prime Minister issued an official apology for the excessive use of violence. Prime Minister himself left the country for a trip in North Africa and returns tonight. Earlier today he attended a press conference in Tunisia where he was challenged by questions that largely had to do with the situation of protests in Turkey. The Prime Minister reiterated his decision to proceed with construction plans at the sight. He returns tonight.

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