Istanbul Governor limits public transport ahead of Gezi anniversary protest

The Governor’s Office in Istanbul on May 31 announced public transit disruptions in the province’s central Taksim neighborhood from 3 p.m. onwards, in expectation of a commemorative protest organized for the 11th anniversary of the Gezi protests. 

Duvar English

The Istanbul Governor’s Office on May 31 closed down the Taksim and Şişhane stations of the province’s central M2 metro line, as well as the funicular line running between Taksim and Kabataş neighborhoods.

The metro operator of the Istanbul Municipality announced the limitations on its social media account, emphasizing that the decision belonged to the Governor’s Office.

The M2 line would not stop at the Taksim and Şişhane stations and the funicular line would not run from 3 p.m. until further notice.

The public transport disturbance followed an announcement from the Taksim Solidarity group, who called for a commemorative protest at Gezi Park in the Taksim neighborhood for the 11th anniversary of the beginning of the nationwide anti-government protests. 

Taksim Solidarity will hold a press release in Taksim on 7 p.m.. The group invited protesters to commemorate the Gezi protests, which were "the resistance of millions filling the squares, symbolizing resilience, determination, solidarity, and hope.”

Taksim Square was also barricaded off by the police, as it became common practice ahead of all major protests or political gatherings at the historically significant location. 

The governor's office had similarly closed off the square and halted public transportation before May 1 opposition parties and workers' unions wanted to mark at Taksim.

The governor cites public peace and security in issuing these measures against protests. However, barricades and public transportation closures disrupt life in the bustling megacity, as Taksim is a hub for tourists and citizens alike.

The Gezi protests began as a small environmental protest at Istanbul's Gezi Park in 2013. The protests spread all over Turkey starting on June 1, as millions took to the streets to raise their voices against police brutality and government policies. It turned into the largest wave of protests against the government in Turkey's history.