Thousands and thousands of women, mostly young, walking in groups, meeting and greeting one another on the way, joining in larger groups and trying to reach the Taksim square…
Thousands of police, blocking hundreds of roads and alleys to the square and Istiklal Avenue for long hours, trying to discover any other alternative routes that the women may use to get through, taking intelligence photos, communicating with superiors for setting up further barricades.
Young women, older women, some women with headscarves, LGBTI individuals, all trying to reach Taksim in close cooperation.
Normally in Turkey you should run far away when there is intervention by the police in your demonstration. These young women do not! They move away a little, a little more, regroup and then come running back together.
It is a demonstration of clashing battle strategies between all these women and the police throughout the heart of Istanbul, waged on hundreds of roads and avenues and alleys and stairs that reach up to Taksim.
This year the police are more experienced. They have closed or are now closing all possible paths, and still, this is maybe not the right strategy. Cihangir, just below Taksim, has its parks and alleys. In the end, the women finally meet there, almost all who came for the 20th Feminist Night March, around 9 PM.
Normally in the western regions of Turkey the slogans are chanted in Turkish. Normally in Turkey, the crowds that gather in big demonstrations do not cry out Kurdish words as slogans. But here, where the women have so extraordinarily been successful in overcoming the police barriers, they are also extraordinarily good at chanting a slogan in Kurdish; one of their most popular slogans: “Jin, jiyan, azadî!”
Chanting for “life, women and freedom”, these women are a signal of hope for the future of Turkey, and maybe for the future of Turks, Kurds and all other peoples sharing a life in peace as well.