Protesters converged on the Gezi Park close to the city center of Taksim Square, a focus of unrest taking place late last month. Tear gas and water cannons were used to disperse the crowds.
At 6:00 pm on Saturday, protesters met at the Taksim Square with water guns in their hands. Their intention was to protest with humour and in a peaceful, passive manner.
Squirting water at each other, their aim was to draw attention to the water cannons used on them by police.
As the demonstrations continued, their message was loud and clear as they chanted “Everywhere is Taksim, Everywhere is Resistance!”
The Taksim Solidarity Platform, together with some political groups, displayed a court order to cancel the plan to reconstruct the Gezi Park, and demanded to be let in the park.
Yet the governor of Istanbul had announced no entry would be allowed on Saturday and that the park would in fact be open to the public on Sunday.
Neither side backed off, and so began the clashes in one of Istanbul’s busiest areas, the Taksim Square.
Police pushed back with shields, and threw tear gas bombs, forcing women, children, tourists, and journalists alike to run away into side streets. Water cannons washed away the crowds on the main Istiklal Avenue.
Police crackdown on local environmental protests triggered by the attempt of cutting down trees in Istanbul’s Gezi Park, a small oasis at the heart of the city’s entertainment area, had stirred a huge outcry causing nationwide anti-government protests last month.