Remember “Riot Granny” from Istanbul? She has been in jail for two months now. Emine Cansever (53), a.k.a. Riot Granny, was arrested with 18 other people in home raids in Gülsuyu neighborhood two months ago. Emine Cansever is accused of being a member of a “terrorist organization”. Pro-government media started a smear campaign right after her image with a sling shot went viral in both local and international media. Based on police reports, the media incriminated her of being a member of DİH (Revolutionary Worker’s Movement) and leading “illegal” protests on behalf of the organization. These allegedly terroristic activities included legal protests such as Hey Textile workers’ struggle against the company that refuses to pay their compensations and three months of salary, and protests against drug gangs in her neighborhood.
Thousands staged a march in Hakkari’s Yüksekova district on Friday evening to protest against the ongoing attacks on the cemetery of eight HPG (People’s Defense Forces) guerrillas in the Orman neighborhood. Among the demonstrators were also BDP (Peace and Democracy Party) executives, mayors, activists of Peace Mothers Initiative, MEYADER, TUHAD-FED, KURDÎ-DER and Gever Culture and Art Centre. Police attacked the mass without any warning, using rubber bullets and intense tear gas, and pressure water. Clashes erupted as youths responded to the police attack. Two people, Reşit İşbilir (35) and Veysel İşbilir (34), were killed as police opened fire on demonstrators. Two men are said to be industrial workers. Witnesses speaking to DIHA (Dicle News Agency) said Reşit İşbilir was hit by two bullets, one on the heart and the other on the right hand. People rushed to Yüksekova state hospital after bodies were taken there. Special operation teams surrounded the hospital with armored vehicles and blocked the relatives of the casualties. Police teams also threw tear gas canisters into the hospital, and broke the windows and doors with their guns.
Tonight at 5pm eastern is 12am in Turkey. Come in & CHAT w/protestors & filmmaker @GeziDoc http://www.livestream.com/activistworldnewsnow … The Gezi Park protests which began on May 28th, 2013 was one of the biggest uprisings against neoliberalism and a conservative Turkish government that was encroaching on secularism. The protest began when plans were announced to develop the park, one of the last remaining green spaces in Istanbul. Sparked by an aggressive police action against the revolt, subsequently protests and strikes spread across Turkey raising a wide range of concerns, at the core of which were issues of freedom of the press, freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, and the government’s encroachment on Turkey’s secularism. Below are two movies on the Gezi Park revolt in Turkey.
One of the great photojournalists to come out of the Occupy Movement is Jenna Pope, she is crowd-funding her book. We urge you to support Jenna’s efforts. “In February of 2011, the massive protests against Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker awoke me from my slumber and changed my life completely. I immersed myself within the front lines of the fight for justice and equality, and I haven’t looked back even once. Fast forward two years and nine months and I am now living in New York City, traveling all over the US and internationally to stand with others who are striving for a better world. In the process, I have been arrested, pepper sprayed, tear gassed, hit with water cannons, and shot at with plastic bullets. I have slept on planes, trains, and buses, outside in the rain and snow, and on strangers’ couches. And, everywhere I go, I have my camera in my hands. It has been an exciting, intense, and unpredictable journey where I am constantly being inspired by the people and movements I capture through the lens of my camera.”
Regardless of their final present political fate, the global uprisings since 2011 have already established mass continuous occupation of public space as the dominant form of political struggle in the early 21st century: the coming together of people who have both withdrawn their consent to be governed by the existing order and, equally importantly, discovered the responsibility, dignity, difficulty, and — above all — joy of instituting a society outside of it. In so doing, they have challenged the periodization that separated a mass political uprising from the democracy that may follow it. The common feature of all these occupations was the creation of democratic forms within the space and time of the uprising itself. This was made possible not through a politics predicated on movement, but rather one of arrest, of occupation, in order to create sites for the collective restructuring of social relations and space.
The 2013 uprising in Turkey commenced with a call by a handful of activists to guard a park located adjacent to Taksim Square – the most centrally-located public square in Istanbul – from the Istanbul Municipality’s bulldozers. As a part of the redevelopment plan for the whole square, the PM Erdoğan and the Istanbul mayor had repeatedly informed the public of their decision to redevelop Gezi Park into a building complex, to contain a parking garage, museum, shopping mall, and high-end housing. The demolition team arrived on the night of May 27, but was not able to proceed thanks to the resistance of the activists on guard, some of whom lay in front of the bulldozers. The following day the bulldozers were accompanied by a substantial police force, which brutally quashed the protestors through extensive use of tear gas and brute force. A small portion of the Gezi Park was demolished that day.
The catastrophic management of catastrophe. If there is one line that describes the nature of neoliberal crisis management, that must be it. From Mexico and Latin America in 1982 to the South-East Asian crisis of 1997-’98, and from Turkey and Argentina in the early 2000s to the European debt crisis from 2010 onward — the most catastrophic thing about neoliberal crisis management is not only that it has a penchant to turn already catastrophic financial crises caused by runaway private speculation into an immense source of private gain for the same very financiers responsible for the catastrophe to begin with; but, even more nefariously, that it makes those catastrophes so much more catastrophic than they really need to be for almost everyone else. Notwithstanding all the propaganda and rhetoric about “free markets” promoting democracy and development, the massive bank bailouts of the neoliberal era have invariably shown that those so-called neoliberals in fact care very little even about free markets — let alone about democracy or development.
There were also further protests across Turkey against military action in Syria. In the southern Turkish town of Antakya, close to the Syrian border, which has a large Alawite community, the same faith shared by Assad, some 2,000 people on Sunday protested their opposition to any military intervention in Syria. “No to war, resistance, Syria! Greetings to the Syrian people who do not bend to imperialism!” chanted the demonstrators, according to an AFP photographer at the scene. Up to 30,000 people protested in Diyarbakir, the main city in the south-east Anatolia, where the majority of the population is Kurdish. They called on the Turkish government to revive the peace process as fighting flares in Syria between Kurds and Islamists.
The summer of 2013 has seen some of the largest, most vocal mass protests around the world since 2011. When sparks flew out of Turkey’s struggle to save Istanbul’s last standing green space in Gezi Park, other parts of the world took note: people exercised power through occupations, strikes and blockades from Frankfurt, Germany to Sanford, Florida and beyond. While the demonstrations have shaken many people out of complacency, institutional powers have also sat up. An escalated war on whistleblowers, Orwellian surveillance state tactics and diminishing civil liberties have stacked up. But after a fearless summer of mass mobilizations, the world’s protesters are resisting more now than ever before.
This short documentary tells the story of the occupation of Gezi Park, the eviction on July 15, 2013, and the protests that have continued in the aftermath. It includes interviews with many participants and footage never before seen. Since the end of May 2013, political unrest has swept across Turkey. In Istanbul, a large part of the central Beyoğlu district became a battle zone for three consecutive weeks with conflicts continuing afterward. So far five people have died and thousands have been injured. The protests were initially aimed at rescuing Istanbul’s Gezi Park from being demolished as part of a large scale urban renewal project. The police used extreme force during a series of police attacks that began on May 28th 2013 and which came to a dramatic head in the early morning hours of Friday May 31st when police attacked protesters sleeping in the park.
Police on Saturday fired water cannon and tear gas in downtown Istanbul to disperse anti-government demonstrators after barring them from entering a park where they had hoped to celebrate the wedding of a couple who met during last month’s widespread protests. The clash occurred after police closed Gezi Park near Istanbul’s landmark Taksim Square, then forced demonstrators to a pedestrian street and fired the water cannon, according to the private Dogan news agency. Police also chased some protesters down side streets and fired tear gas, according to the websites of Radikal and Hurriyet newspapers. No casualties were immediately reported. The newly married couple and hundreds of protesters were later allowed into Gezi Park, where photographs were taken. But the crowd was soon again forced out of the park, apparently after it began to chant anti-government slogans.
A video showing the arc of protests in Istanbul (so far). The video was made by Ron Wiles, which includes Jenna Pope’s photos from Turkey, and the song that was composed by Klavierkunst (Davide Martello) while he had his piano in Taksim Square. The combination of beautiful music and photos tells the story of the peaceful, nonviolent resistance movement and the violent response by the government of Turkey.
Like Rome, the revolution is never built in a single day. In Bishara’s words, the Arab Spring was “fermented” by countless civil society activists, neighborhood organizers, human rights advocates, and nondescript political associations that chipped away at tyrannical regimes during “largely unreported years.” Workers who rose up at the Mahallah textile factory in 2006 in Egypt and the miners agitating against mistreatment in the mining belt of Qafsa in Tunisia in 2008 were some of the forefathers who seeded the ultimate downfall of despots in these countries. The common intellectual lesson from the streets of Brazil, Turkey, and the Arab world is to avoid underestimating half-baked social movements still in their infancy.
Turkish riot police have fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse about 3,000 demonstrators who tried to enter a park adjacent to Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the heart of recent protests against the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The Taksim Solidarity Platform, made up of a combination of political groups, had called for a march on Saturday to enter the sealed off Gezi park, but the governor of Istanbul warned that any such gathering would be confronted by the police. “Parks are not places for protests. They must serve as a place of calm and tranquility for all people,” Istanbul governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said.
We live in an age of revolution, and specifically of anti-elite, anti-authoritarian revolution. It’s an age that began in earnest with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and shows no signs of slowing down. Edward Snowden, who on Friday was reportedly offered asylum by both Nicaragua and Venezuela, is in his own way a soldier in that revolution, one who has exposed the secrets of the world’s greatest imperial power and made it look both foolish and vulnerable. That’s the thread that connects this week’s explosive news out of Egypt to the bizarre episode of the Bolivian president’s airplane, which was forced to land in Vienna (almost certainly at the behest of someone in Washington), based on false rumors that Snowden might be on board. Screw national sovereignty – the most powerful nation on earth is hunting a computer nerd! In other words, both these things are driving powerful people crazy.