A “standing man,” as many have dubbed him, stood silently in Taksim Square Monday evening to hold what appeared to be a solitary vigil in defiance of Turkey police.
Eventually hundreds of individuals, inspired, joined him in his silent statement until police broke up the group, arresting several protesters.
This comes in a response to this past weekend, when Turkey Prime Minister Erdogan ordered the heavy handed dispersal of the crowds who had gathered in Taksim Park for the last few weeks to protest.
Being referred to as simply the “standing man” in Turkey and across the globe, performance artist Erdem Gunduz appeared to be gazing contemplatively at a portrait of Kemal Ataturk.
Perhaps a most fitting object of reflection, Kemal Ataturk is credited with being the founder of secular, modern day Turkey.
Gunduz stood in Taksim Square for nearly eight hours. Three hundred people are reported to have joined him in his protest vigil by early Tuesday morning.
By 2 am, however, Istanbul police had had enough of the peaceful protest. Moving in to disperse the crowd, most who had joined “standing man” Gunduz left.
At least ten individuals chose to remain in defiance of police demands and were arrested.
One source who talked to an individual, Koray Konuk, who was arrested early Tuesday morning, said that no one resisted the police as they were filed into a bus.
Konuk said that he “was just standing. They arrested a man who was just standing. That is absurd.”
Despite police dispersal, people inspired by the “standing man” returned to the spot to resume the vigil. Reports say authorities moved to disperse and arrest new groups of standing protesters several times Tuesday morning.
The video below shows “standing man” Erdem Gunduz’s powerful vigil and those inspired by his peaceful defiance who joined him Monday night: