What began as a protest in Istanbul over a government plan to develop the city’s last central green space has mushroomed into nationwide protests marked by violent clashes between protesters and police, who have used tear gas and water cannons to disperse demonstrators. The unrest has continued into Monday and shows no signs of abating.
Not surprisingly given Turkey’s Internet-savvy population, the clashes have also played out in vivid detail online, producing a collection of dramatic videos that capture both the carnival-like atmosphere on the streets and the heavy-handed police response. Vine, the video app that Twitter launched in January, has been having something of a moment over the past few days, and users in Turkey have been harnessing the service to generate GIFs of the unrest — video postcards from a protest movement in progress. Dramatic footage has flooded YouTube as well. (Cue the heated debate over the role of social media in fueling the demonstrations.)
Here, via YouTube and Vine, is a snapshot of Turkey’s current bout of unrest.
Here’s the most recent Vine footage out of Gezi Park:
The latest footage suggests the protests aren’t letting up:
The collection of footage below provides an overview of the atmosphere in Istanbul — both the energy on the streets and the police crackdown:
Taksim Park, the last remaining green space in central Istanbul, is at the center of the current dispute. Here’s video from when police evicted protesters occupying the park in opposition to the government’s plan to turn the space into a shopping mall.
The police have made extensive use of water cannons in dispersing protesters. As is evident in this video, protesters have been largely unable to fight back against trucks equipped with these cannons. (Also, it really doesn’t look fun to get hit by one of these cannons.)
Here, a protester hiding behind a barricade is nearly run over by a water cannon truck. Watch closely and you can see him limping away after the truck barrels through the barricade.
A sense of the damage left in the wake of demonstrations:
Street battles between police and protesters show no sign of subsiding. Here’s a slice of what those battles look like:
The street protests have been intense, as you can see from this gathering of chanting protesters. Here’s a translation of their chant, courtesy of LiveLeak: "Go on, spray, go on, spray. Go on, spray tear gas. Take off your helmet, drop your baton. Let’s see who is the real man."
There have also been reports of violence at the hands of the police. Here’s alleged video of police beating a protester:
Police violence can also be less dramatic — though no less terrifying for the victim. Here, a police officer in the city of Izmir pulls a woman by the hair:
Are there videos we missed? Leave them in the comments.