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    Posted June 16, 2013 by
    Istanbul, Turkey
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Protests across Turkey

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    5 Stories up from Taksim Square


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     ccm16duke is from New York. She is vacationing with her family in Istanbul, Turkey. She captured these photos and videos from her hotel room on June 16, which is five stories above the procession of protesters making their way to Taksim Square in Istanbul. She says the police have tried to disperse the protesters, but they keep coming back. She and her family have been vacationing in Turkey since June 11. The trip was planned months ago for her sister's graduation. 'We were aware of the protests and discussed canceling our plans. We are glad we did not, as we have felt this is an exciting time to come and have not felt unsafe -- except briefly today when I was caught on the street in between the protesters and police while walking to the hotel,' she explained.

    She says while being in Turkey, the protests were energetic until today. 'Now it feels like there is a level of desperation. The police seem more comfortable with using aggression,' she said. Protesters and police clashes erupted throughout parts of Turkey earlier today as riot police were clearing out protesters from Gezi Park, according to CNN's reporting from the scene.

    Although she is staying away from major areas with protests, she explains that she supports the protesting. 'I was not too familiar with the two sides until getting to Istanbul. This is a much bigger than saving one park,' she said.
    - Jareen, CNN iReport producer

    I am vacationing in Istanbul with my family. I have been here since Tuesday and have been able to witness the progression of the protests. We have been with tour guides each day and all of them have been pro the revolution. One tour guide solely referred to Erdogan as the crime minister (witty phrase). I have been impressed at how articulate, passionate, and well educated everyone is that I have spoken to about the events in Turkey. In addition, the protestors really have been peaceful. The piano concerts in Taksim Square is the perfect example of this.

    I am staying at a hotel a mile away from Taksim, which I thought was far enough away. Turns out, I am on the street that leads to Taksim, so everyone walks along this street to Taksim. Prior to Taksim, there is a police station. Since 2pm today, the police have been lined up outside of the station. What is the most surprising thing about this, is that only 2/3 of the police were in uniform. The other third were wearing pedestrian clothes and only had polices vests on. It very much seemed like these police officials were going to try to infiltrate the protestors. I felt on edge walking by the police station even this morning, prior to any clashes occurring today.

    However, clashes have very much occurred by now. I went to get a Turkish tea with my mother at 3pm in the neighborhood, after staying in my hotel all morning at the urging of the concierge. By the time we walked out, I noticed I guy putting on a gas mask by the door of this European, upscale coffee shop called House Café. I thought it was odd, until I walked outside and could feel my eyes burning. I did not see any protestors in site, but already I could feel the police forces. On the 5 minute walk back to the hotel, I made out the protestors walking toward my mom and I in the distance. We turned onto out hotel’s street, jut as 4 hotel guests were getting in a cab to leave Istanbul. Even the hotel employees were wearing masks to cover their mouths.

    My family decided to stay at the hotel for the night, rather than head to the airport to go onto our next stop, which is Cappadocia. We thought there was a greater risk in getting caught in a car between the police and the protestors than staying put on the fifth floor of our hotel. Plus, a part of us wanted to be here to witness this historical moment!

    Shortly after arriving back, the protestors made their way back to the hotel, chanting and clapping in unison (though incomprehensible to me). There was an energy to them, as they walked to Taksim Square. However, ten minutes later, hoards were running past our hotel in the opposite direction. Even people on motorcycles were turning away on this one way street. And then, on my small balcony, my eyes began to water. Then, I heard a bang and to the left could see the police walking in the direction that the protestors were running. To say the police was targeting protestors is an understatement. They would raise their guns, focus on something in the distance and shoot. Mainly they directed their shots towards the main street, but they even fired into many of the side streets. The smoke was everywhere and depending on which way the wind was blowing, was very powerful. A young boy and his dog were caught in the middle, as well as an older couple who was unable to run away. The police did show some sympathy and helped the man cross the street. Though, I would like to note, after having thrown the teargas in his direction earlier. This happened around 5:00pm (local time) and for the past 2 hours it has been a game of attack and retreat between the protestors and police. From a bystander, I can tell you that the attack seems to be very one sided…

    Most of the photos are from today. There are some pictures and a video from the march last night post Erdogan removing people from Taksim Square and Gezi park.
    #Istanbul #CNN #Reporting #Live #Taksim #Protestors
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