The first silent protest was carried out by performance artist Erdem Gunduz in passive defiance of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
After weeks of sometimes violent confrontation with police, Turkish protesters have found a new form of resistance — standing still and silent.
The first such protest was carried out late on Monday by performance artist Erdem Gunduz, who stood for hours at Istanbul’s central Taksim Square, in passive defiance of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Others copied him in Istanbul and other cities, and the act provoked widespread comment on social media.
Mr. Erdogan says he will increase police powers following a wave of anti-government protests. The announcement came on Tuesday, in Ankara, as police carried out raids and detained dozens of people suspected of involvement in violence against officers. Mr. Erdogan defended the police saying they had acted with restraint and within their “rights,” adding “We shall strengthen police ... so that it has increased powers of intervention.”
Mr. Gunduz’s vigil was broken up by police early on Tuesday after others joined him.
The square has been sealed off from mass protests since police cleared it over the weekend, but have not sealed it off from pedestrians.
The government has been criticised for the disproportionate use of force by the police in anti-government protests that swept Turkey for over two weeks. It was a brutal operation against peaceful environmental protesters in Istanbul park on May 31 that sparked nation-wide demonstrations and dented Mr. Erdogan’s international image.