It began as a lone silent protest in Istanbul’s Taksim Square: one person standing still, staring into space. No chants, no banners, no slogans.
Hours after the first silent protesters took their stand, many others had flocked to join them, defying the Turkish government’s ban on public gatherings in the square.
The new form of expression came after previous rallies were broken up. A similar tactic was adopted by demonstrators in Ankara.
The aim was to take it in turns to prolong the protest but in Istanbul the police had other ideas. After several appeals to leave the square officers intervened in the evening. People were led away quietly and taken away in a bus.
The Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc has raised the idea of deploying troops but later claimed his comments were taken out of context.
“They call the protesters provocateurs, but I think the government and the prime minister are the biggest provocateurs. They don’t see these people, they don’t understand, they don’t want to see what these people are looking for,” said one woman in Istanbul.
More arrests followed on Tuesday morning. Dozens of people have been detained in Istanbul, Ankara and the western city of Eskisehir as the authorities continue their clampdown on the protest movement.
The protests against the government and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s policies and style are well into their third week.