Saturday, November 21, 2009

Urban Protest

(Image found at at If you have further interst about the surroundings of the above photo, please read the following page on this website: )

The city is often the backdrop of protest. Cities should allow peaceful protest as a way for its citizens to express their concerns about local or international issues. In civil societies, it can be a venue to educate urban residents and others about their concerns. However, in some cases the atmosphere is presumed to be one of conflict by local authorities. This was often the case in Istanbul. I was by happenstance in Uskardar (Asian side of Istanbul) on a day when the Turkish Communist Party was organizing a rally. The police was there with tanks and lined up geared up for conflict. It was a grey rainy day which added to the foreboding atmosphere of possible violence. Trying to exit this area was not easy as some of the roads had been blocked etc. The above photo (not taken by myself) was taken during the Water Conference in Istanbul. This did not turn into a peaceful event either. The most major protest event is May Day in Istanbul. This day is filled with controversy and sometimes violence by the protesters and the police. Some of the protesters obviously want to cause disturbances and welcome arrest and violence. The urban flaneur observes these events and contemplates on the multiple forces at work. Of course, s/he would rather be at a cafe with their espresso and enjoying the life of the city. Their means of protest and comment is media, not action. The impacts of media can be far more effective than an actual protest event, which could be paralleled to a tragic circus or drama.

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