Editor’s note: This piece originally appeared at Contra Info.
Turkey, Istanbul–Actually it was NOT totally unpredictable, but we somehow couldn’t see it was coming. What have people of Turkey being doing until this revolt? Students have beaten up the teachers who gave them grades lower than they deserved. People stabbed doctors who neglected their loved ones. They shot sergeants to run away, and deserted obligatory military service. They crashed police stations and beaten up abusive police officers. After courts gave their verdict, people gave a taste of their own verdict at the hallways of courts. Women brought their own justice to their violators. They committed suicides under the pressure of big exams, credit card debts…
Insurrection of individuals and revolutionary groups finally touched each other and got connected in Gezi Park Resistance (as of May 29 to date). So, we wanted to share some of our observations from behind the barricades with you:
- Roads were blocked, trunks and back seats are checked to see if they secretly sneak gas bombs to police. Because police used ambulances to sneak bombs, people carefully searched them; people stoned fire trucks because they were observed to be carrying water for the water cannons that put out fire barricades.
- ID checks for those who were suspected to be undercover police.
- CCTVs and cameras were dismantled and damaged.
- More than 40 outstanding barricades were set. Pavement stones, billboards, traffic signs, trash cans, whatever is in hand and lying around, were used.
- Banks, ATMs, billboards and bus stop advertisements were destroyed.
- Police containers and police cars were set on fire, OR used for the benefit of public.
- Construction machines and buses were overturned, damaged and set on fire.
- Food and necessary supplies were shoplifted from corporate supermarkets around the neighborhood.
- Media vehicles (CNN van) were overturned and destroyed.
- A bulldozer was captured to counter-attack riot control vehicles, and water cannons were pushed out of the streets.
- Young kids who were abused and humiliated by cops every day set the record straight by stoning and cursing them in their face. They wrestled back their integrity.
- Trucks and bulldozers were captured and used to build barricades.
- Unorganized and largely apolitical youth got acquainted, discussed and mutually learned tactics and strategies with more radical and organized groups.
- Thousands of young people got firsthand experience in clashing with police forces.
- Large solidarity network was spontaneously organized for food, beverage, solution for tear gas and cigarettes.
- Beverage and food points were set up to disperse free stuff to whomever in need.
- People started to frantically share everything, their chocolate bars, cigarettes, their home-made food, food they were given by others.
- Trash and litter were collectively collected, even the cigarette butts.
- Everybody was helping everybody with anti-acid solutions against tear gas on the barricades.
- People opened their houses’ doors, as well as small cafes and shops, for perfectly random protestors, who were cornered by police forces.
- Housewives and other people in the neighborhoods joined the protests with making noise with pans, etc.
- Food and anti-acid solution kits were placed in a lot of spots.
- First- aid points were set up.
- Doctors ran from barricade to barricade during heavy clashes.
- Street vendors happily proliferate in the absence of police, who normally chase them and confiscate their stuff.
- Sex workers, including transsexuals, could work, stroll around, and mingled with others freely without being abused.
- A vacant area under closure had been liberated for the public and turned into a small park.
- Some other vacant houses, which were under mortgage closures, were occupied and put into use.
- A small urban garden was created.
- A free library was set up.
- People read bulletins and pamphlets like they never did before. They thought things they never thought before.
- People claimed back and made the streets their own again with graffiti, stencils and various different flags and colors instead of billboards and commercials.
- Instead of going to work or back home with public transportation or cabs, people marched slowly under clouds of tear gas chanting slogans and curses. They weren’t scared anymore, they kept on marching.
- People determined their own agenda, not parties, powers or leaders.
- Not a single woman was abused. They freely marched, strolled around and stayed in the park.
- People spent their time together instead of killing it in front of TVs or computer screens.
- Masses were disillusioned and openly started to criticize mass media.
- Kurds freely waved their guerrilla flags (PKK), showcased portraits of their guerrilla leader under arrest (Apo) and enjoyed themselves with their traditional collective folk dances. Nationalists willy nilly had to get used to it. Even some of them couldn’t resist and joined the dances. Middle-class activists, with their pristine bourgeois hygiene standards, ate the same food, shit in the same portable johns and went long periods without showers together with the homeless people and street animals.
People realized life without cops is JOY, indeed.
“Life is so boring, there is nothing to do except
spend all our wages on the latest skirt or shirt.
Brothers and Sisters, what are your real desires?
Sit in the drugstore, look distant, empty, bored,
drinking some tasteless coffee? Or perhaps
BLOW IT UP OR BURN IT DOWN.”
–The Angry Brigade
pics – police enter taksim square eventually, with the help of “taksim solidarity”; that commission behaving like they are representing the revolt. how a revolt, an insurrection can be represented? anyway. but of course people resisted against police invasion.
pics – painted slogans. they are in turkish, but just to show that, everywhere around taksim was graffiti, everywhere.
photos retrieved from occupygezipics