Amid all the scenes of violent protest in Turkey, Brazil, and Indonesia over the past few weeks, the actions of Turkish man Erdem Gunduz stand in stark contrast. Gunduz, a performance artist, stood silently in Istanbul's Taksim Square for eight hours in protest against the police crackdown on demonstrations. His silent vigil began at 6 p.m. on Monday, and by the time the police moved in at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, around 300 people had joined him.
The actions of Gunduz, now dubbed "standing man," evoke the spirit and defiance of "Tank Man," the lone protester who silently stood up to a row of Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square during the 1989 uprising, as well as other forms of silent protest, including silent marches. Although Gunduz's protest ended when police moved into the square, 10 people were arrested for refusing to move, and it has inspired others in Turkey to demonstrate in silent solidarity against the government.
Image credit: Isil Yilmaz Sumer
The photo and video below, shows silent protesters again gathering in Taksim Square on Tuesday.
Image credit: James in Turkey
The spread of this protest tactic shows that standing up for what you believe in is not always about making yourself heard vocally or physically, and highlights the symbolic power of determined collective resistance. Despite the efforts of the government and the police, people in Turkey are still defiant.