People were banging on pots, pansblowing whistles," one eye-witness told BBC News. They were met with police intervention. During the withdrawal, some protesters threw water bottles at the security forces, which resulted in the police use of tear gas.
How did it help to create 'Gezi Spirit'? The protests started as a reaction to attempts to build a shopping mall and military barracks in Gezi Park and galvanised opponents who wanted to challenge gentrification and increasingly neoliberal reforms as well as creeping conservatism and authoritarianism in Turkish society.
It is estimated that 2. Protestors occupied the park, exchanging ideas, expressing solidarity, and building community, often in the face of police repression and tear gas. Eleven people died during the protests. We are interested in the images of protests documented and communicated by protestors rather than those produced by mainstream media.
We explore the importance of social media understood not just as a tool to disseminate information but also as a mechanism allowing people to communicate visually and engage in a non-material space. In this respect, digital technologies expand our understanding of how and where politics is done.
It is based on the assumption that digital technologies, such as smartphones and social-media platforms, allow people to participate in protest in different ways. Certainly, socio-cultural and political opportunities are transformed by digital technologies, with user-generated content, such as images, memes, videos and live-streaming, being published and circulated on social networking sites like Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter.
In our research we collected overtweets sent during the Gezi Park protests in May and June We then selected images from those tweets and analysed the visual content. Images of the whirling dervish with a gas mask were widely published and then recontexualised across social media platforms.
The visual spectacle of protest Mainstream news reporting on protest tends to privilege visual content that dramatizes the event or offer visually spectacular images. To an extent protest movements play into this as they seek to gain the attention of mass media and its audiences.
A case in point from our Gezi Park study are the many pictures of the whirling dervish with a gas mask published across both traditional media and social media.
The insult was quickly re-appropriated as a positive term of self and collective identification, used on placards and as graffiti, and subsequently shared as images on social media. Here the visual communication served as an expression of solidarity, beyond whatever messages or demands were communicated within.
Images shared on social media helped communicate and fuel 'Gezi Spirit', in contrast to government propaganda and the mainstream media, which often depicted protesters as hedonistic looters. The technological means to mobilise, via smartphones and social media, have been emphasised in research on contemporary protest movements.
However, to gain an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms of mediated mobilisation strategies and on how politics is performed through protestors' engagements with aesthetics, we need to pay attention to the emotive register of images. We react emotionally in an immediate way, before we start to make sense of an image Images are not only about content or indeed representation; they evoke emotional responses.
Audiences may even engage with this emotional impact more directly and prior to any representational decoding of an image takes place. In other words, we react emotionally in an immediate way, before we start to make sense of an image.
Our study seeks to elaborate on the potentials of visual culture and social media in effecting social change, and key to this is to better understand the emotional dimensions of both social media culture and visual communication. An interesting aspect to note in relation to this is that such sensation is not limited to the types of images that are visually spectacular, but is also frequently conveyed in the mundane, the humdrum or the everyday.
Here the emotional register dominates; a helpless animal suffering the effects of having been exposed to tear gas, used by the police against the protestors, is implicated in a political message about the brutality of the police. Several of the protest images we found featured animals.
Everyday life during the Gezi Park protest A somewhat unexpected finding in our research has been the quantity and richness of images of everyday life in relation to the Gezi Park protest.
In all these respects the images of quotidian life in Gezi Park are performative. To conclude, the large proportion of Gezi park tweets that include images tells us this is an important part of protest communication also beyond the protest location itself.
When we delve into the types of images tweeted by protestors we can see not only that there is a wealth of different types of images circulated — from creative collages to documentary photography — but that different modes and styles of visual communication are used for different purposes:The Gezi Park protests began as part of a longstanding campaign against the destruction of the park, one of the last green spaces in central Istanbul, as part of the redevelopment of the Taksim area.
To conclude, the large proportion of Gezi park tweets that include images tells us this is an important part of protest communication also beyond the protest location itself.
at least 8, (during the Gezi Park protests) (at least 63 in serious or critical condition with at least 3 having a risk of death) Arrested are estimated to have taken an active part in almost 5, demonstrations across Turkey connected with the original Gezi Park protest. Jun 11, · On Friday, May 31, Turkish riot police fired tear gas and pepper spray into a peaceful protest held to save Gezi Park, one of the last green areas in central Istanbul.
The Gezi Park Protests The Gezi Park Protests in the summer of began in response to Prime Minister Reccep Tayyip Erdoğan’s plans to demolish Istanbul’s Gezi Park, one of the city’s few remaining public green spaces, and to replace it with a shopping mall and luxury apartments.
Europe Remembering the Gezi Park protests and the dream of a different Turkey. In , hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets in Turkey to protest Erdogan’s authoritarian policies.