The social protests currently sweeping through Turkey started with a dozen men and women who parked their tents in Gezi Park – one of the last remaining green spaces in central Istanbul – to protest a shopping mall development. Now one women has died and scores more have been injured as police forces crack down on a growing mob.
A rather innocent stand for nature took a dramatic turn when police attacked the park protestors with pepper spray and destroyed their tents during the early hours of the morning on May 30, 2013.
Now, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets in cities across Turkey – from Ankara to Izmir – despite a violent government crackdown.
“Police are throwing gas bombs from helicopters,” a Turkish designer told us on condition of anonymity.
“Artists are on the street too,” he said. “They are surrounded by police; they are under attack; hotels are accepting people, giving free rooms and doctors are on the street.”
Local media report that their own staff have been injured by tear gas canisters. Others on the street have suffered broken bones and serious head injuries.