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Gezi – Anatomy of a Public Square Movement

The Occupy Gezi movement has been a staging ground for the creativity of micro-practices, and it embodies the importance of the politics of everyday life. The claim to protect the park is not merely metaphorical. The park signifies the physicality of the public sphere. Ideally it is the concrete space, open space for citizens where they can manifest freely their presence and interact with each other. The public square Gezi movement represents a new threshold for democracy where old cleavages between authoritarian secularism and Islam are surpassed and new forms of citizenship are rehearsed. The Gezi Park movement opened up a new arena of creative experience and provided a home for democratic imaginaires growing and resonating from Istanbul, Turkey.

Gezi Anatomy of a Public Square Movement
Protestors visit an impromptu library at Gezi Park.
 

“Yaşamak bir ağaç gibi tek ve hür ve bir orman gibi kardeşçesine”

“To live like a tree alone and free and like a forest in brotherhood”

Nazım Hikmet

 The Occupy Gezi movement has been a staging ground for the creativity of micro-practices, and it embodies the importance of the politics of everyday life. As a public square movement, it opened up a new arena of experience and democratic opportunities growing and resonating from Istanbul, Turkey.

The Occupation of Gezi Park started on May 28, 2013, in protest against the implementation of an urban management project. When the police brutally intervened and used aggressive force, the Gezi movement gained new momentum from the massive support of the middle class and the expansion from Istanbul to other urban cities. The public has not hesitated to take to the streets and block avenues, neighborhoods, and their city’s central spaces. Others participate from their balconies, with whole families chiming in to the protestors’ chorus, banging on pots and pans.

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