Gezi Resistance continues every night with forums at various parks of Istanbul. Gezi Parkers are now discussing the transformation of their movement, saying that “PM did not kick us out of the park, he made everywhere a Gezi Park”.
Daily forums begin at 9 pm local time with some of them lasting till the early hours of next morning. Those who want to address the crowd approach to the moderator and put forward their opinions through a megaphone - which is kept silent enough not to disturb neighborhood-dwellers. It means that forum people need to establish a silent environment and it usually happens. Every speaker is allowed for two minutes. It is not allowed to applause or verbally criticize speakers. If you support the speaker, you put your hands up in the air and shake them. If you don’t, you cross your hands in the air.
Beşiktaş Abbasağa Park
The forum in Abbasağa Park was hosted by Çarşı - a soccer fan group for Beşiktaş Soccer Club. Over a thousand people with a majority of youngsters assembled in the park by 8 pm local time. Some played ball games, other chattered or ate sunflower seeds. Roughly 500 people attended the forum which was held in the amphitheater.
The first speech was on LGBTs and supported by the crowd. The speaker invited everyone who “learned what being left out meant with the help Gezi Resistance” to join them at the Gay Pride beginning on June 24.
Several speakers underlined and praised the importance of organization. “Those of us who never supported anything except soccer teams learned about solidarity and organization in Gezi Park. The idea of adhering to the existing political organizations, though, did not find any supporters. Some said: “Everything was nice during the resistance, but it doesn’t feel the same under the umbrella of political organizations.” Others talked about how they should do more reflection on different means of organization and reached a consensus that they should “strengthen their organized spirit.”
After a speaker said “our bayan [a politically incorrect word for woman] friends, some people warned and corrected him with the word “kadin”.
Even though the correction was received with laughters and comments on how “feminist” the group was, everybody more or less agreed. Nobody else said “bayan” again.
Among the most supported speeches were those which criticized the police violence. 2 students from Ukraine spoke and criticized the police violence with a speech ending with “Youth will hold AKP responsible” in Turkish.
One of the most important recommendations was on the length of press statements. “Statements take so long that nobody wants to read them. We should make shorter and more efficient statements,” a speaker said. Even the writer of this article agreed.
Another speaker summarized the significance of park forums as follows:
“From now on, everywhere in Turkey, every park in Turkey is a Gezi Park... In everybody’s home marks safe places in case of natural disasters like flood, earthquake or fire. These places are parks. There is no disaster now except the one created by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Under these circumstances, we are inviting you to find refuge [in parks]. You don’t necessarily set up tents there. You can just come with an umbrella or picnic box. Let’s talk here and let’s get to know each other. ”
Haydarpaşa Train Station
Hundreds of people flocked the stairs of Haydarpaşa Train Station as trains were preparing to make their last departures. Istanbulites transferred the freedom of being outside to the radius of the historical train station.
As demonstrators were chanting songs and slogans saying that “resistance is everywhere”, others supported the movement by just standing still inside the train station.
Just because the majority of demonstrators were unconvinced that the train station will reopen in two years after a renovation, many people were scrambling to take the last snapshots of the historical train station. Though they seemed very determined not to yield in so easily. Haydarpaşa Solidarity group pledged to meet on the steps of the train station every Thursday to remind the public on the issue. Activities praising the resistance lasted till late evening. When it was time to go home, the silhouettes of “standing people” were replaced with the ordinary shades of the train station.
Kadıköy Yoğurtçu Park
Although the protest at Haydarpaşa Train Station was over, Istanbul was far from calming down. Various news sources confirmed that people occupied most of the parks in the city despite the government. In Kadıköy’s Yoğurtçu Park, the forum was over but people were not done talking. In every corner of the park, there were caucuses and some people were recording them.
As a matter of fact, everybody was talking about the same topic in Yoğurtçu Park yesterday. It was easy to understand whether they were talking about the police violence or policemen who were lost while chasing protestors in Cihangir from the sound they made: laughter or not laughter.
In any case, it is important to note that, besides the dynamism of the words, there was also a physical mobility. As the energy of the crowd replenished everyone with every breath, some people could not even hold themselves as they were speaking. Let’s see this as a sign of support to “standingpeople!”... movingpeople!
Where to find forums tonight?
Gezi Parker organize forums in the following parks tonight according to neighborhoods: Beşiktaş: Abbasağa Park / Elmadağ-Harbiye-Nişantaşı: Maçka Park / Kadıköy: Yoğurtçu Park / Cihangir: Cihangir Park / Ümraniye: Çarşı Park / Okmeydanı: Sibel Yalçın Park / Göztepe: Göztepe Park / Rumelihisarüstü: Doğatepe Park / Etiler - Akatlar: Sanatçılar Park / Fatih: Saraçhane Park / Bahçelievler: Egemenlik Park / Bakırköy: Bakırköy square. (YY/ÇT/BM)
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