Sunday, October 4, 2009

Students, educators protest IMF meetings

'Hurriyet Daily News' reports [4/10/09]:

"Three people climbed a 15-meter-high pillar in Istanbul’s central Taksim Square on Sunday and hung a banner protesting the International Monetary Fund, news agencies reported.

The three were members of a leftist student group called the Student Collectives, and the banner read, “Get out IMF – Student Collectives.” The protest lasted an hour under heavy rain. The pillar holds police security cameras and municipality cameras used to watch traffic in the square. While the three people were hanging the banner, another three read the group’s press statement.

“The representatives of imperialism and colonialists are in our country for days,” read Eren Can. “They did not come to our country with good intentions. They plan how to exploit more, how to leave more hungry and poor.”

As two of the three people on top of the pillar came down, police took them into custody. Others warned the third climber that police were waiting for him. Hakan Demir, the third protester, waited atop the pillar for almost an hour in the rain and chanted slogans. A firefighter using a fire ladder reached the protester and attempted to cut down the banner. But Demir did not allow him to and took down the banner himself. Meanwhile, police also approached Demir on the ladder to convince him to end the protest. Demir refused but was eventually taken into custody after he finished his protest.

Protest with bare feet

In a protest Saturday, a group of members from education trade union Eğitim-Sen walked barefooted down Istiklal Avenue in Taksim, protesting the IMF and World Bank. The group carried banners reading, “Transportation is a right and cannot be impeded,” “We demand free education, job security and free transportation.”

Representing the group, Hatun İldemir from Eğitim-Sen said IMF and World Bank policies made fundamental public services, such as education, health, housing and transportation, a market good. İldemir demanded that the government re-evaluate who in society is eligible to benefit from free public transportation.

Another group on Saturday protested the IMF, World Bank, and Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association, or TÜSİAD. The group gathered in front of Galatasaray University and carried a banner reading, “Your money and missiles can go to hell. We want peace.” The group walked to TÜSİAD’s building and finished their protest."