Solidarity with Taksim

HOLDING SIGNS reading "Defend democracy in Turkey" and "U.S.: Stop sending tear gas," around 70 Austin-area activists and members of the Turkish community gathered at the south side of the Texas Capitol building to voice their support for the demonstrations in Istanbul and other Turkish cities.

After chants that denounced the brutality of police many speakers came on the microphone to share their thoughts about the current situation. Speakers from the Turkish community stressed the general discontent with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the resistance to the conservative policies of his Islamist party.

Speakers from the local branch of the International Socialist Organization talked about the global nature of such civil unrest, noting that the protests in Turkey are inevitable when governments and the economy are run in the interest of the rich.

"We see a tightening of the belts," local activist Charles Grand said in his speech, "and working people and poor people in countries all over the world having to suffer for the economic crisis. We see more and more attacks on civil liberties all over the world, this country included. This is a global struggle. This tension has been boiling for years."

Attendees chanted "Tayyip istifa" and "Everywhere is Taksim, Everywhere resistance," as Snehal Shingavi spoke out about the silence of the U.S. government regarding the tear gas, supplied by U.S. companies, that is being used on protesters. Shingavi also noted the similarities between Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan and Texas Gov. Rick Perry.

"I think...a great way to continue the spirit of this protest is to realize we're not simply here because we are inspired and in solidarity with the people of Turkey," Shingavi said. "It's because we know that their fight is our fight here in Texas as well."