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(en) Turkey, Istanbul, Anti-war protesters marched on Istiklal Street! (tr)

From Ozgur Devrim <ozgurlukcudevrim@yahoo.com>
Date Fri, 21 Mar 2003 13:07:11 +0100 (CET)


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As planned, the demo after bombs started to fall on
Iraq was a success. (this report is based on one
person's limited observations)
O.
Around 18:00 the crowd that gathered in front of the
AKM (Ataturk Culture Center) on Taksim square started
chanting anti-war slogans and partially blocked
traffic. First estimates for numbers are about
2000-3000. "Murderer USA get out of the Middle-East",
"Murderer USA, collaborator AKP (ruling Justice and
Development Party)", "Don't silence, shout: No to
War", "The people of Iraq are not alone" were chanted
by the whole crowd. Anarchists also started chants
like "All states are murderers", "Refuse, resist, say
no! Don't serve in the army!", "We will be no one's
soldier", "Anarchist rebellion against the war".
Flyers with "Capitalism is killing"/"We will be no
one's soldier" were spred around. Demonstrators
remained at the square for about 30-45 minutes.

At the square riot police, other police and a few
panzers had made a huge preperation, mp5 submachine
guns and AK rifles waving in the hand's of their
commanders, an intimidating sight. However the police
did not interfere with the protesters. The protesters
at the square later marched down Istiklal Street, the
heart of Istanbul (liveliest part of town with culture
centers, bars, cafes, tourism, foreign embassies...)
without interference with great enthusiasm. Their
voices and noise against war echoed loudly on the
street with buildings on two sides. A scared
McDonald's joint on the street that was closed and its
windows boarded half way (shopkeeper must have fled before
covering up completeley) received some damage in
broken windows as well as some damage to a bank
window.

The march that lasted all the way down to Tunel was
followed by riot police in formation from the rear,
this caused the march to be at fast walking pace for
fear that police might attack from our backs but we
kept our distance. Around Galatasaray a US flag was
burnt among cheering and tv cams swarmed to tape this
moment (they always go for the spectacle rather than
the message). When the march was at Tunel protesters
started to disperse, while about half of them continued
marching towards the US Embassy but were stopped by a
blockade and heavy police presence. Around 19:30 the
small number of remaining demonstrators blocked traffic
at Sishane and were dispersed by a riot police charge
from behind with tear gas. The whole action was fast
paced, no one seemed to be hurt and no major arrests
or clubbings at any time.

Marching from Taksim square to Tunel chanting anti-war
slogans gave a great sense of success and morale to
the ones who came. It was a beatuiful experience to
make such a seccessful march at Taksim, a taboo spot
for demonstrations (police always lays siege and
surrounds demos at Taksim, and arrests most of the
time). Why was there no interference? The overwhelming
anti-war sentiments of the Turkish people (polls show
90+% against), the rejection of the motion for
allowing US troops to open a front from Turkey by
parliament on 1st of March among protests outside, the
fact that this is internationally the most unpopular
war ever must have played a role (it really is just a
cowardly attack by USA and UK unworhty of even the
term "war").

For people not to die in Iraq or other countries that
may be targets in the future in a war for power and oil,
For a different world where democracy, freedom and
justice does not come with bombs,
Against Bush II and Blair's new world order,
Against those that are trying to pass licking boots of
the most powerful as "realist", "the lesser of evils",
and "national interest",

Continue the struggle against war and the
anti-capitalist struggle locally & globally!
There is no time to mourn!!

_____The only war worth fighting for is class war_____

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