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From a demonstration to save trees in Turkey’s Taksim Gezi park, a movement to remove the government has taken root.
One week on protesters continue to occupy the leafy area of Istanbul.
What had begun as a peaceful protest turned violent after clashes with police began on Friday.
Young people are now familiar with tear gas capsules which litter the area.
It took one group of young people five hours to reach the park after public transport services were shut down. One of them explained the reason why they took the long journey to join the protest.
“They turned this innocent demo into violence… We will never surrender to the police. We want government to step down,” she said.
“They have no mercy. The police are attacking as if they want to kill us. We don’t trust the police. We only trust ourselves.” another protester explained.
One student came from Kurtkoy, 70 km away.
“I have to sit exams next week. We should be studying but the nation is more important right now,” he concluded.
People from all walks of life have joined the protest uniting the opposition against the government for the first time. Even football supporters have put their rivalries aside to support the protests. Some commentators have drawn comparisons with the Arab spring of 2011. Similarities with the ‘occupy’ movement are also being observed. However, the protest in Taksim appears to be something unique.
“Taksim belongs to the people” has become their rallying cry.
Euronews correspondent Bora Bayraktar reporting from Istanbul said:
“Though the violence which ruled Istanbul for days appears to have died down, the protests continue. There are hundreds of people protesting in Gezi Park where it all began. They will be preparing themselves ahead of any new clashes.”