June 19 Istanbul, 1248 hrs
The manhunt continues. Yesterday somewhere between 90 and 400 people were arrested. As a result and as a precaution we abandoned our cove near Taksim Square and we are now in hiding.
The government obviously has no idea how to handle the uprising. They tried brutal repression. They brought out the National Guard, they are making massive arrests, they menace to bring in the army and declare martial law. All to no avail. The resistance is spreading like wildfire. After the eviction of Gezi Park, popular assemblies are popping up everywhere and multiplying by the day.
Yesterday, the Beşiktaş Assembly in Abbasaga park tripled its amount of participants. In total there were ten popular assemblies going on in Istanbul alone. There was at least one in Izmir that we know of. Most if not all of them are adopting the same hand signals as the Spanish Assemblies.
These meetings have nothing to do with Taksim Solidarity any more. They are spontaneous initiatives by local people who are fed up with Erdogan’s disregard for the Turkish citizens, their rights and freedoms, their history, beliefs and traditions.
As GlobalRevolution team we covered the assembly in Kadıköy on the Asian side. Two years ago, in Puerta del Sol, we were the International Brigade. Here we are known as the Spanish Brigade, even though there is only one Spanish person among us. And he went to cover the meeting in Beşiktaş. On the way down to the assembly, in Üsküdar district, people are doing their daily pot and pan bashing at dusk, like the one I witnessed in Mecidiyeköy the other day. Bear in mind that Üsküdar is a predominantly muslem district of the city.
We arrive in Kadıköy, and truly, I couldn’t believe this was happening. Well over two thousand people were gathered on the green, to express their anger with the government’s eviction of Gezi, and to share their hope for a better Turkey. Like anywhere else, it was a cross section of the population, which included all races and creeds.
“Once these assemblies get started, you can’t stop them,” Jack says. “This is going to be checkmate.”
There is a sense of euphoria in the air, the happiness people experience when the artificial walls of society are being torn down. We are all one. And it’s true what they say. After Gezi, nothing will ever be the same.
The assembly abruptly ends when the sprinklers go on. People run for cover, they giggle and reunite in small groups to discuss their organization, their coverage, their goals and demands.
We head home. At the bull statue in central Kadıköy we experience another of those beautiful emotional moments that characterise revolutionary times. A dozen people are standing silently in protest, some holding Turkish flags, some holding images of Atatürk, some simply reading a book. People from the neighbourhood bring them supplies. Someone lifts a bottle of water to their lips. Passers by are applauding, cars are honking. This is happening all through the country. At the moment, hundreds of people are standing in Taksim.
To quell all this, the ruling party is trying to adopt the Deviated Secret Services Act (DSSA). This law would allow Turkish intelligence to detain or eliminate people inside and outside the country without any control from legal authorities, in case of an ‘internal threat’. Even if they misuse their power they can only be judged by special tribunals under special laws, and only with the consent of the prime minister. The Intelligence Agency responds directly to Erdogan.
We are considering to get the hell out of this country at this point. But then again, it’s just about to get interesting. There will be at least 17 assemblies in Istanbul tonight. Who knows how many there will be in the rest of the country.
And even if we get out, it will be the same. Gezi Park is everywhere. By now, we are Brazil, we are Bulgaria, we are Bosnia. Soon we will be Egypt, Indonesia, Argentina, the United States of America.
The authorities still don’t understand what’s happening. They look for leaders, people to corrupt or to eliminate. But there are none. We are not an organisation, we are a world wide web. We are the people on the threshold of changing times.