Gezi Protests: The Scene in Taksim

Monday, June 10
I'm heading off to Copenhagen tomorrow, so after meeting up for drinks at my office in the Urban bar, a friend and I decided to head over to Gezi Park again. After all, I'm heading off soon to the land of the Danes. Who knows what things will look like by the time I get back... 
PM Erdogan continues to talk tough, and is due to hold big rallies in Ankara (Saturday) and Istanbul (Sunday) this upcoming weekend. 
My guess is that sometime shortly after these rallies an attempt will be made to take back the park, perhaps even as early as next week. 
It won't be easy. Gezi Park and Taksim have been transformed into an open-air bazaar, even more than is usually the case. The park is filled with thousands of people. 
In addition to the usual occupy-type stuff we've all grown used to seeing--dispensaries, libraries, information centers, etc.--there's also an unmistakable Turkish flavor here. Taksim Square is filled with vendors selling food, drink, and Gezi-related souvenirs. 

I have no idea how the police are going to empty that area without a hell of a lot of people getting hurt.  
Here are a few more shots from Taksim Square this evening. (Earlier shots can be found here).
Taksim is a bit of a free-for-all now
Unregulated shopping on Istiklal



Cop-free zone
Ataturk statue in Taksim

As I've written in my earlier posts over the past week, I don't see any way out of this. The PM is insistent that they leave, and I can't imagine Erdogan tolerating those folks in the park for much longer. He has shown absolutely no interest in negotiating or lowering the temperature in any way.
The people in the park, meanwhile, have absolutely no intention of going anywhere. They've dug in, reinforced their barricades, and are waiting for an assault.
It's a festive atmosphere for now, while security forces fight protesters in other cities. But it seems like only a matter of time before the government makes its move.
It's like watching a car wreck in slow-motion. 
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