Next: Turkish spring?
Police in Istanbul on the morning of May 31 raided a protest encampment that had been established in Taksim Gezi Park—one of the few remaining green spots in the city center, which authorities have slated to bulldoze to build a new shopping mall. Police set fire to the tents in which protesters were still sleeping, and used pepper spray and tear-gas. One student had to undergo surgery after injuries to his genitals. Street-fighting in the area continues, and protests have spread to Ankara. Tens of thousands have watched the demonstrations online at lifestream.com/revoltistanbul. The park had been under occupation since May 27, but the issue has gone beyond saving a green space to more generalized opposition to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a "neoliberal Islamist" formation that has been tilting sharply right, establishing alcohol-free zones and advocating restrictions on abortion. Richard Seymour in The Guardian writes that "a struggle over a small park in a congested city centre has become an emergency for the regime, and the basis for a potential Turkish spring." (More coverage at BIANet, NYT, Euronews.)
Taksim Square to Zuccotti Park
As of this morning, lower Manhattan's Zuccotti Park is again under occupation—no tents so far, but a big crowd that seems to be about 50% Turkish with signs in solidarity with the Istanbul protests. Among my favorites: "ISTANDwithISTANBUL," "RESISTANBUL," and one with the faces of Saddam, Mubarak, Qaddafi and Tayyip Erdogan, with the first three crossed out in red and the caption reading "TAYYIP, YOU'RE NEXT." A General Assembly is to convene at 6 PM, that is in a half hour...