Standing: The Newest Form of Protest in Turkey

After weeks of violent clashes, a Turkish artist tries a motionless form of resistance -- and starts a movement.

On Monday night, Turkish artist Erdem Gunduz arrived in Istanbul's Taksim Square, the site of weeks of ongoing protests and violent clashes with police, and tried something a little different: he put his hands in his pockets, gazed at a picture of Ataturk, and stood perfectly still. He stood there quietly for five hours, and as the night wore on others joined him:

standing-banner.jpg
Erdem Gunduz stands in a silent protest at Taksim Square in Istanbul on June 18, 2013. (Marko Djurica/Reuters)

Gunduz's quiet vigil has spawned a wave of similar shows of defiance all around Turkey, as groups of people paused in government buildings, in front of state-run media, and elsewhere, and essentially planked -- vertically -- for democracy:

Some of the standers interviewed said they were demonstrating for peace, rather than for a particular side. The unrest has left four people dead and about 7,500 injured, according to the Turkish Medical Association.

This morning, Turkish police dispersed the crowd standing in Taksim, detaining several protesters. Later, others returned and resumed standing, according to the AP.

standing2-big.jpg
(Marko Djurica/Reuters)

The Democracy Report

"I'm standing against all violence," Koray Konuk, one of those arrested, told CNN. "I'm standing there so that the events that we've been witnessing and the events taking place over the last two to three weeks can come to a standstill."

Presented by

Olga Khazan is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where she covers health.

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we still save the night sky?

Video

The Faces of #BlackLivesMatter

Scenes from a recent protest in New York City

Video

Desegregated, Yet Unequal

A short documentary about the legacy of Boston busing

Video

Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Life

The Supreme Court justice talks gender equality and marriage.

Video

Social Media: The Video Game

What if the validation of your peers could "level up" your life?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Global

Just In