Double Channel video, 7:05min (excerpt 3:21min),2012
Two years ago, when there was no right to celebrate May Day in Taksim square, four friends, with the experience of the hustle in the alleys, we headed to Eminönü the day before to complete our preparation. Our shopping list might have seem irrelevant to those without the knowledge why they had got together for; however the same items on the list were as much prejudicial as a reason to be taken into custody by the police if they were found on you on May Day: Sea googles, medical mask, lemon. First, we looked for sea googles that covers the nose, so when we were sprayed some pepper gas our eyes wouldn’t burn and no gas would fill through our noses. However, we needed to take precautions for our mouths as well; we were going to supply that with medical masks and lemon, which neutralizes the pepper spray. With a kilo of lemons in our hands, medical masks and sea googles after passing the bridge we ate fish sandwich in Karaköy joyfully and set about to estimate when and where we were going to meet, which roads to take while climbing up for the square. In the morning we got up early. Pants, shoes for an easy run, coats with pockets in order not to carry a bag, half sliced lemons in the pockets and masks were the absolute musts of May Day. Also, we warned our friends who had earrings on their ears and necklaces on their necks; in a potential brawl these jewelries would have turned in to a threat. All arrangements were made and the target was the square but just as we stepped on the street we smelt the gas. There had been a clash between the cops and the protesters; the streets were covered with gas and all roads to Taksim were closed with barriers.
There were so many cops, so we changed our minds on wearing the googles we bought as it would have been something like “come and get me”. For a long time we tried to reach the main roads by giving a shot to all the ways we thought about. During these attempts the road leaded us to Fındıklı but we couldn’t find a way no matter what, we were drifting back and forth meaninglessly. We shared our informations with other people searching for a way just like us, and offer lemons to the unprepared ones. We were talking to those who tried their luck from the Kurtuluş direction, and when we heard about their unsuccessful stories we became demoralized. No vehicles nor passengers were passing by the streets, which we were forced for only to look behind the barriers. The roads were so empty for a long while that the animals of the neighborhood claimed their freedom and lie down restlessly. As an uncaringly lying alley dog didn’t move, a patrolling police car braked. The dog didn’t bat an eyelash, the officer handled the megaphone and tried the sound system by doing “pıh, pıh”; and then unassertively, like Züğürt Ağa’s shouting “Tomatoes”, yelled “hoşt, hoşt”. We all burst into laugh, the face of the cop was falling apart. Still nothing from the dog. In response cops had to get out of their vehicles and lift the dog from the place he was lying on. We, who got sharpen as we couldn’t move ahead of the barriers, enjoyed as if the dog was in our side and do all of these to make a fool of the police. Later we found an open road somehow.
At first, without suspicion we thought we were getting closer to the square step by step and started to move forward on the roads which had no cops. To our surprise, in the favor of not wasting the pepper spray, the police set us a sweet trap. They were opening the designated roads in order to gather people who were wandering around in the back alleys without a purpose, slowly, and prepare to use the gas collectively. We got crowded as we were walking, and as we got crowded we stated to feel something fishy was going around but it was too late. The police blockaded the crowd from two sides and started to use the gas from 5 cm. distance and pick up by force and strike with their clubs. As we ran away from the gas from pillar to post, we came across another group of cops, changed our direction, got caught again and ran away.In the street opposite to the German Hospital we suddenly realized that with a group throwing molotov cocktail to the cops we were in between riot squads arriving from both sides,. Everything was over. While we were thinking to be beaten by the clubs was inevitable, it came to our minds, to call a friend who live on that street. He was at home by chance but the doorbell of the building wasn’t working. We flooded into the door, and we heard the sounds of boots of the cops coming from both directions and the sounds of the flip flops of our friend. The heat was on, was the police going to reach us quicker or our friend? There were only some meter between us and the cops, the door was opened and we all piled in, then closed the door. A cop stared from the window while swinging his club in a threatening manner, and then left. The sounds of people coughing, vomiting and gagging were mixed up. Right after, a reporter came and documented our slimy faces, thanked and left. Conceived by the meaningless of re-appearing on the street we went upstairs to the abundantly pepper gas smelly flat of our friend and watched the happenings live on Tv. The water for tea boiled, the lemons left from the demonstration got added to the teas. In the evening news there were stones, sticks and kilos of lemons on table set by the governor in order to expose the weapons of the protesters to the reporters. We had no idea of the crime we committed when we carried lemons all day long.