NPR logo In Turkey, Protesters Proudly Call Themselves 'Looters'

In Turkey, Protesters Proudly Call Themselves 'Looters'

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has shown no sympathy for the tens of thousands of protesters who've taken to the streets across the country. In fact, he seems to have energized the protesters by calling them capulcu, or "looters" in Turkish.

Demonstrators have gleefully embraced the label, spreading it far and wide on social media and turning a local protest into an event that has attracted international attention.

It all started because of a grove of trees. A handful of neighborhood activists last week blocked a bulldozer from tearing down trees in Gezi Park, a rare remaining green space in central Istanbul. As the days passed, more activists joined the sit-in. When riot police raided the park, using tear gas, pepper spray and batons, this shocked many Turks and led to nationwide demonstrations.

The protesters remain encamped in Instanbul's Taksim Square and other public spaces across Turkey. They have taken cues from other mass movements, from the Guy Fawkes masks used by Anonymous and Occupy Wall Street, to intricate stencil graffiti like that in Cairo's Tahrir Square.

They've made full use of Twitter hashtags like #OccupyGezi to seek solidarity with potential supporters across Turkey and around the globe.

Here's a sample of some of the protest art that has come out of Turkey over the past week.



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