Tuesday, June 11, 2013

that burn

Minutes after I crossed Taksim Square to catch my bus, the police moved in on Taksim. While I was safe at school, the Square was gassed. Alleged protesters threw Molotov cocktails at water tanks, the TOMAs, though I find it odd that protesters, who would have been unaware of an impending police move, would be ready with Molotovs in hand. Plus, throughout the entire protest so far, even during the heat of the action on May 31st, I have never seen a Molotov cocktail being hurled by anyone. Yes, I saw stone throwing— plenty of it, and fires, but no one ever threw any firebombs. I also find it suspicious that as I was crossing the Square this morning, the protesters who had been camping out under the statue, were dismantling their tents and taking down flags from the statue. There are plenty of rumours circulating about plainclothes cops masquerading as protesters, instigating violence and destruction, and after having seen with my own eyes a police bus full of un-uniformed men mingling with cops in all their gear, I feel compelled to believe it.

As I tried to go home this afternoon, there was that terrible, familiar taste in the air. I was soon engulfed in gas which had tinted the sky a brownish orange. I moved as quickly as I could, past row after row of relaxing policemen, my scarf in a ball over my mouth and nose. By the time I got home, I was feeling dizzy and my chest hurt. Foolishly, I ran my face under cool water, which only caused my skin and eyes to burn more fiercely. Pedro gave me some lemons for my eyes, and it took a while before they could open without pain.

For more on what's happening in Istanbul, have a look at The Guardian's live updates.

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