- Posted June 16, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Protests across Turkey
5 Stories up from Taksim Square
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
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