6 Pictures That Show How Intense The Turkish Protests Are Getting

turkeyAn anti-government protester who painted his face participates in a demonstration in Ankara June 4, 2013.

As protests in Turkey enter their sixth straight day, the earnestness of demonstrators seems to have evolved beyond telling Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan: “Tayyip, Winter is coming.”

What began as a sit-in over the destruction of trees in a public park morphed into an indictment of Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian leadership style and efforts to introduce more restrictive laws.

On Tuesday night thousands remained at a makeshift camp near Gezi park in Taksim Square, which Daren Butler and Humeyra Pamuk of Reuters report “is taking on the look of a more enduring settlement” with small tents, foods, face masks, and a nascent library.

The hunkering down comes after days of violent clashes.

“It is a war zone out there,” An Australian man working in Istanbul told ABC newson Monday. “Thousands upon thousands of people chanting and building barricades and storing water strategically for later use when the gas starts again. These guys take their rioting seriously.”

Pictures from Tuesday night illustrate the progression. 

Here’s a group of protesters staring down of a water cannon (notice the hard hats):

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This protester — standing in front of one the jerry-rigged barricades while wearing a real gas mask— is gesturing towards riot police after they fired tear gas.

turkeyA protester gestures towards riot police after they fired tear gas in front of a barricade in Istanbul June 4, 2013. Turkey’s deputy prime minister apologised on Tuesday for ‘excessive violence’ by police in an effort to defuse days of unrest, comments which contrasted sharply with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s defiant dismissal of the protesters. With Erdogan abroad and strikes and demonstrations still rumbling on after five days, Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc sought to assuage some of the anger at the government’s initial hardline response to what began as a sit-in against plans to build on an Istanbul park. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Here’s a closer look at a barricade (and the hard hats):

turkeyAnti-government protesters stand atop a makeshift barricade near Istanbul’s Taksim square June 4, 2013.

All is not quasi-warlike — despite 25 people being arrested for Tweets, two people having been killed, and at least 3,195 people were injured (26 critically) in clashes Sunday and Monday alone not to mention.

Levity serves as a source of vitality. 

turkeyAnti-government protesters demonstrate in Ankara June 4, 2013.

Most significantly, the dissidence is not just coming from the “extremist fringe” as more than a dozen unions — Taksim Square is a popular gathering place for the country’s labour movement — have joined the cause.

Demonstrators are demanding that the government abandon plans to redevelop Gezi park, which lies in the heart of Damascus, and that it sack authorities deemed responsible for violence during recent clashes.

Rallies continue across the country on Wednesday.

turkeyAnti-government protesters gather for a rally in Ankara June 5, 2013.

 

The outcry has been stoked by Erdogan, who remains defiant.

“A mosque will be built in Taksim,” Erdogan said earlier this week, adding that he did not have to receive permission from the main opposition leader or a “few marauders” for the projects. His position is that the authority had already been given by people who voted for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

For good measure here are a couple of the police, who have been at times ruthless and sadistic while backing Erdogan:

RTX10BWERiot police walk past a burning barricade during clashes with anti-government protesters in Ankara early June 5, 2013.
turkeyRiot police rest in front of a group of ATMs during clashes with anti-government protesters in Ankara early June 5, 2013.

BONUS (lest we forget): The lady in red

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