It’s not often that a small protest to preserve a city park turns into a national outpouring of frustration that threatens the political stability of a government in power for more than a decade.
Two days after violent clashes with police in Istanbul’s Taksim Square spread to 66 other Turkish cities, relative calm returned to the city on the morning of June 2, but without conveying any strong sense of victory to the thousands of demonstrators still gathering in the Square and still occupying the park, Gezi, that set Turkey on its political ear.
Rather, the protesters – generally middle-class, but ranging politically from leftists to nationalists – seem to view the lull as a time to repair, recuperate and regroup. Not as the end of the battle that has begun.
By evening, disturbances had returned to the district of Beşiktaş, where Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has an office, and to the center of the capital, Ankara. A symphony of pots and pans was reported on Twitter from central Istanbul neighborhoods as residents sounded out their support of protesters.
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Jonathan Lewis is a freelance photojournalist based in Istanbul.