By Murad Sezer
Taksim Square is the heart of Istanbul. It’s the meeting point for lovers, tourists and protesters.
On the weekends if you stroll around the square and crowded Istiklal street, a hub for shopping and bars, you can witness various political demonstrations. Women protest against domestic violence, soccer fans gather, anti-government far leftists groups rally and on Saturdays mothers demand to know the fate of their missing relatives. Riot police are never far away, so it’s no big surprise if you smell tear gas all of a sudden in the middle of Taksim.
This time-lapse video shows demonstrators at Taksim Square, Istanbul, over a 24-hour period on June 5, 2013.
Nowadays Taksim smells of tear gas all the time. A peaceful sit-in-protest to save Gezi park at the side of the square turned into a week-long riot between police and anti-government demonstrators. Now everybody in Taksim, from shopkeepers to taxi drives have grown accustomed to tear gas and barricades which block main streets to the square.
As a news photographer it became routine for me to cover protests in the city center and deal with short-lasting waves of tear gas. But it’s not that easy to cover riots in Taksim anymore. After three days of clashes, protesters occupied the square and police now stand far away. Both sides rest during the day and fight from midnight to dawn.