What seemed to have been a disapproval for the commercialization of Gezi Park in Taksim Square has turned into an outright war against Turkish parliament and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“Police were there (Taksim Square) yesterday; they’ll be on duty today and also tomorrow because Taksim Square cannot be an area where extremists are running wild,” Erdogan said in his speech.
Tear gas and other methods were reported to be used against hundreds of protestors who garnered bricks and paving slabs as weapons against anyone who attempted to silence their message.
BBC reported that the crowd chanted “unite against fascism” and “government resign.” Witnesses say many are crossing the bridge between Asia and Europe and all forms of public transport have ceased.
Violence like this has not been seen in Turkey in a while, prompting the summoning of officers from other areas to help control the scene. Officials estimate a dozen have been hospitalized and more than 60 detained.
Although Erdogan says protestors have used the Gezi Park case as an excuse to create tension, many say the angst might just be one of the last straws for a growingly angry Turkish youth. Young people have taken issue with the gradual Islamization of the country that in their eyes has been prompted by the government.
Things like Parliament’s decision to restrict the sale and consumption of alcoholic drinks was prompted with civil disobedience by demonstrators who expressed their disdain for that ordinance by gathering in a park in Ankara and drinking alcohol.