By late Sunday night, some police were labeling anyone with the standard gear for the protests -- a plastic hard hat, swim goggles and a surgical mask to protect against flying teargas canisters -- a terrorist. A McClatchy reporter returning from the rally on foot, due to the closure of public transit, encountered a group of policemen was said his gear marked him as a terrorist.
Throughout Sunday, riot police fired water cannon and teargas at protesters to prevent them from coming anywhere near Taksim Square, and there were incidents in at least 16 places, according to a McClatchy tally.
Outside the McClatchy office in Istanbul, hundreds of protesters, most likely coming via ferryboat across the Bosphorus from Istanbul’s Asian subdivisions, were marching noisily towards the Istiklal, the main pedestrian street, which leads to Taksim square, when a riot control vehicle appeared at the top of the street and fired round after round of water infused with teargas. The protesters fell back, but not for long. They advanced again, and police responded with another volley of water and teargas.
Earlier in the day, protesters marched through the Sisli area near one of Istanbul’s biggest shopping centers, calling for Erdogan’s resignation, when police appeared and broke up the protest with teargas.
Even in the working class area of Kasimpasa, where Erdogan grew up, protesters built new barricades, and police responded with teargas. The Galata bridge, which crosses the Golden Horn, was closed to streetcars and cars Sunday evening, following clashes near the Karakoy ferry port, and a McClatchy reporter saw young protesters breaking off iron fences to separate pedestrians from vehicles at the other end of the bridge – possibly to build barricades.
In upscale Nisantasi, a mile or so from Taksim square, protesters packed the Vali Konagi street and were building barricades, but police firing teargas dispersed them to nearby side streets, according to a report posted on the Istanbul Foreign Press Association bulletin board.
Possibly the most ominous clash Sunday night, which did not involve the police, occurred in the side streets of Zeytinburnu, close to where Erdogan staged his rally. There, Erdogan backers honking their horns in the gridlocked traffic prompted Erdogan opponents to open their windows and bang spoons on their pots and pans, one of the hallmarks of the protesters. A McClatchy reporter happened upon the cacophony and heard Istanbul residents on either side challenge each other, a sign of the polarization that is beginning to affect the city’s neighborhoods.
The protests seem certain to continue and could widen, depending on whether one or both sides is determined to have its way.
On Monday, Turkish labor unions called a one day strike that will affect professionals and civil servants to protest the newest round of government violence against the protesters.
(Special correspondents Joel Thomas and Ceren Kenar contributed)