NOTE: This was originally published on Occupy The Stage and is being reposted for the sake of having complete archive on this website.
On June 8, Occupy The Stage and other activists and New Orleanians marched in Solidarity with Occupy Gezi in Jackson Square and the French Quarter. It was great to march with Turkish families and friends who came out to support protesters in Istanbul.
Many local supporters of Occupy Gezi and members of the Turkish community arrived with flags and signs, and we had some markers and poster board, some flags, and made a few more signs.
They also brought copies of a printed flyer with information about Occupy Gezi and what is happening in Turkey.
They asked one of us to read their statement in the megaphone, which we were happy to do.
We marched around Jackson Square and then down Royal Street, waving flags and handing out flyers about the demands Occupy Gezi and what is happening in Istanbul
Demands of Taksim Solidarity
Occupy NOLA member’s speech
I am here today to show support for the Turkish resistance. I am here with Occupy New Orleans in solidarity with Occupy Gezi. I am here in solidarity with the people in Istanbul and Ankara. I am here because there is blood in the streets of Istanbul.
I am here in solidarity with every human being who has stood up against government oppression, government corruption, and police brutality.
If you have family or friends in Turkey, you might be worried about them. You be angry about what is happening to the protesters in Turkey. I am angry about what is happening to the protesters Turkey. I have been following the news coming out of Taksir Square on what Erdoğan calls the worst menace to society – Twitter.
I have seen the tear gas and the bullets and the water hoses in photographs. I watched a young man filming the protest with his phone and talked to him on Twitter. He sent me a picture of the mayor smiling. He asked me to tell everyone that the government of Turkey should resign.
What is happening in Turkey is an injustice. The government should allow people to kiss on subways and in public. In April, Ankara subway officials made an announcement asking passengers “to act in accordance with moral rules” after security cameras spotted the couple kissing.
That was only the beginning. People say the current revolution in Turkey started with a peaceful protest of the government’s plan to demolish the GEZI PARKI in Taksim on Tuesday, the 28th MAY 2013. This park is one of the very few parks left in the city. The government decided to build a shopping mall in this location. The people of Turkey did not want this and stood up to their government. Turkish people protesting peacefully in the park were attacked by police who used tear gas and water hoses. I have seen photographs of gas canisters and bullets used by Turkish police. This is unacceptable.
The people of Turkey are trying very hard to get their message across. The Prime Minister controls all the media. None of the national TV channels broadcasted the country wide protests. This is unacceptable.
I understand that the demands of Occupy Gezi and the Taksim Solidarity Platform include the following:
One. Gezi Parkı must remain a park
Two. The governors, the police chiefs, and the officials who gave orders for a violent crackdown on the protests must resign
Three. The use of teargas and similar chemical weapons by the police must be outlawed
Four. Detained protesters must be released immediately
Five. Laws prohibiting demonstrations in public places must be abolished
We sincerely hope that these and other demands are met and are here in solidarity with you. Occupy New Orleans has made similar demands to our government.
Corrupt government officials and police should resign.
When the government and the police will not listen to us, we only have each other. That is what Occupy taught me. Occupy taught me that where there is anger, there is often love. When the government burns down tents and takes hundreds or thousands of people into custody, there is a reason to be angry.
Occupy has taught me that people are still willing to care about one another. I have anger in my heart about the way the Turkish Government and many other governments including the United States government have treated people.
With that anger there is also love for the people, all people, who are willing to resist. Occupy taught me that we are human beings who can stand together with a bond that is stronger than police in riot gear. Stronger than any government.
If there is nothing I can do alone except tell you that I am here in solidarity with all people fighting government oppression, then I that is what I will do. But I hope to do more. I hope to march. For Turkey. For Istanbul. For the Anonymous Solidarity Network. For Occupiers Everywhere. For everyone who has refused to sit down and allow the government to smash their human rights.
Today we march in solidarity with Turkey and with all people who believe a better world is possible.
What do we want?
When do we want it?
No Jusice. No Peace.