It all started with a small demonstration in a park, and turned into a violent clash. Within a few days, Turkey went crazy and nothing was like before.
Since Friday the 31 of May Istanbul is not like it used to be. It all began with a peaceful sit-in at Gezi Park, just across Taksim Square. Demonstrators were trying to save the place that would be turned into a Shopping Mall soon.
At the same time I was in a coffee shop nearby Taksim Square when I noticed a crowd of people running into the shop. The police was chasing the demonstrators down Istiklal Street (for those who don't know, Istiklal is the famous shopping boulevard in Istanbul).
Police outside was attacking the protesters with tear gas and water cannons. Taksim Square was a huge mess. It looked like we were having a civil war. I was still in that coffee shop while some people were lying on the ground, coughing like crazy. I was trapped in there for about 3 hours, too scared to go out...
For a year I lived in Taksim, just a few minutes away from Taksim Square where everything started. The days after, Saturday and Sunday, we had no electricity in our house. Going out was a bad idea as the smell of tear gas was so intense that I actually had to close the windows.
The following days were insane, beyond words. I had never seen anything like that. Police continued attacking the protesters with tear gas and plastic bullets. There are horrible videos on the Internet, I don't want to go any further into this, as most of you guys have seen these videos or experienced it yourselves. The Turkish Media didn't cover any of this, it was unbelievable.
Thousands of people were injured and wounded by the police during the week, some even got killed.
Now, 10 days later, Taksim is calm. Calm, but busy as hell. While I'm writing this, thousands of people are still demonstrating on Taksim Square and it seems like it's not going to end anytime soon.
Gezi Park is covered with tents; I think people completely moved here, there is food everywhere. Even a library is made up in the park. People are dancing and singing around Taksim Square, it's like a huge festival.
For a few days, there is no more police in Taksim. The streets around are blocked with barricades, put up by the protesters. No vehicles can enter here.
And since the police can't get in also, Taksim Square became a peaceful, but lawless place. You can buy spray paint everywhere. Vandalism is all over the place, many ATMs are destroyed. On every corner is a guy selling beer. Don't get me wrong, I'm glad the police is not here and attacking the protesters. But I don't like seeing the streets filled with garbage and people making a huge fire in the middle of Taksim Square.
I wonder how long this is going to go on...
I won't write any more and I don't want to make any political statements. This is just a photo documentary of last weekend. All the photos above were taken on the 8th and 9th June 2013.
Just one thing has to be said: Walking over Taksim Square, 10 days after, I felt like I'm in a different place. It's crazy how much has changed within just a week... However, I'm leaving Istanbul in the next days with very mixed feelings....
UPDATE 12 June 2013
Yesterday I went again to Taksim Square and took some photos. Everybody on the streets was wearing masks, it was impossible to breath without... Shortly after I left the place, the situation escalated and the police fired gas all over Taksim Square...
Have you been to Taksim during the protests? Did you get teargased? Tell me about your experiences!
Thank you for reading.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sabrina Iovino is the founder of JustOneWayTicket.com. She's half German, half Italian and has traveled to more than 50 countries around the globe. She feels weird to write about herself in the third person, so she'll switch now. Phew...much better! Let's restart:
Hi, I'm Sab! This is my blog and I write about the things I love. Mostly.
Thanks to my Editor Marjorie Monteith of Go English Academy.
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