Turkey 'standing man' in peaceful protest

2013-06-18 09:10
Turkish choreographer Erdem Gunduz stands on Taksim square following what had been a lone protest. (Marco Longari, AFP)

Turkish choreographer Erdem Gunduz stands on Taksim square following what had been a lone protest. (Marco Longari, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Istanbul - A man stood still in Istanbul's Taksim Square: silent, staring straight ahead, he had not moved for hours.

His peaceful action, on the square that police cleared of protesters on Saturday and where the Turkish authorities have banned gatherings, was a new form of protest.

He arrived on Monday evening as night was falling and took up position in the middle of the square, just a stone's throw from Gezi Park.

Five hours on, the man was still there, hands in his pockets, a bag and some bottles of water at his feet.

He was staring at a portrait of the revered founder of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk that hangs from the top of the old cultural centre. Ataturk who established Turkey as a secular state.

Word spread quickly online: on Twitter, the hashtags #Duranadam and #standingman ran a steady stream of comments, together with some photos on the event.

Hundreds of people approached the square to see for themselves.

Square surrounded

The man behind this 'happening' was choreographer Erdem Gunduz: his one-man protest was designed to get around the ban on gatherings in the square.

On Saturday, police used tear gas and water cannon to clear both the square and the park of thousands of demonstrators, depriving them of the symbolic heart of their protest.

It was a 31 May police crackdown on a peaceful protest against plans to redevelop the square that spiralled into nationwide demonstrations against Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's Islamic-rooted government.

Now police officers surround the square, preventing any further gatherings.

For this new protest to work, Gunduz's friends positioned themselves outside the square in a bid to prevent well-wishers trying to approach him.

"We want to protect him from any provocation," said one of them, Asma, a young Turkish woman, as she tried to keep the gathering onlookers back.

"He has to be alone in the middle of the square, otherwise the police will use the pretext of a gathering to clear everyone away," she explained.

One month plan

Gradually, a human chain formed an immense circle around him. Some of the youths there began arguing over whether to join him or stay well clear, as Gunduz's friends wanted.

The choreographer's plan was to stay standing still there for a month, breaking every 24 hours for three hours' rest, while a friend took his place.

It was not long however before others joined in.

A group of youths took up position beside him, following his gaze towards Ataturk - at which point the police moved in.

The Standing Man had time to leave, surrounded by a group of friends: others were not so lucky.

Officers detained around 10 youths in a police bus, as photographers recorded the event.

After they were driven from the square and the park on Saturday, members of the protest movement talked about the need to find new ways of getting their message across.

Erdem Gunduz appears to have done just that.

Read more on:    recep tayyip erdogan  |  mustafa kemal ataturk  |  turkey  |  turkey protests

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.