Manchester solidarity protests held against Turkey repression
Last week there were two protests held in Manchester to show solidarity with demonstrators in Turkey.
The protests were called to spread awareness of state violence in Turkey used against those opposed to the building of a shopping mall on Gezi Park, one of the few green spaces in Istanbul. Since then, more violence from the government and media collusion has angered millions more who’ve joined the protests – fighting for democracy and against government attacks on women.
The first Manchester demo took place on 3rd June, called with less than two days notice. It attracted upwards of 60 people to All Saints Park on Oxford Road. The event was largely made up of Turkish students at Manchester, with handwritten signs: “This is not about a tree, it’s about democracy” (a reference to the escalation of the protests and the wider issues brought into play) and “Resistanbul”. The demonstrators decided to march on to Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre chanting in both English and Turkish, singing Turkish political songs. On arriving at Piccadilly we assembled together for more chants, songs and speeches and then marched down Market Street and Deansgate before dispersing, having decided to demonstrate again in another two days.
The Wednesday demonstration was outside the BBC at Media City in Salford, aimed at getting more press attention. Despite the location being a long way from Manchester City Centre and the universities, around 30 attended again singing, chanting and listening to speeches.
Both demonstrations showed the strength of feeling around the protests in Turkey as well as the vitality of the Turkish student community. Many of those attending are going home to Turkey over the summer and it is unlikely that there will be more actions called for a while. In the meantime our eyes will be on the protests and our solidarity with those on the streets.