May Day, 2008, Ankara
The May Day rally in Ankara was scheduled for the afternoon, so we went there from METU. The three busses provided by one of the unions were not enough for all of us, so some of us took public transportation. One old articulated bus made in Hungary by Ikarus was so full of students (and a couple of professors) that it could not get up the hill on the way out of the campus. So some of us got out and ran to the top.
On our way to the busses, we had learned by cell-phone that three of our mathematics-department comrades who had gone to the Istanbul rally had been taken under detention, in a football stadium, or just in a police bus. They were later released.
Ataturk Boulevard, heading north
Our bus eventually got stuck in the traffic jam caused by the closure of Ataturk Boulevard for our rally. We walked to where the march would end, then continued past all of the unionists and revolutionaries who were ready to march.
The end of the column
At the end of the line, we met up with the rest of the METU contingent and in particular another professor-comrade.
When the march got under way, a popular chant with the METU students was Gelenek sürüyor, ODTÜ yürüyor (The tradition continues, METU is marching)—a conservative slogan, one might say. Of the several universities in Ankara, public and private, ours was the only one represented as such. But there was a contingent of Revolutionary High School Students (Devrimci Liseliler). We three seemed to be the only professors from METU, although others may have marched with a union. I didn't get many photos of unionists, if only because they didn't happen to pass by on the other carriage-way of Ataturk Boulevard as we all marched.
When the march proper was over, and we had all passed through the gauntlet of police officers into the rallying area, I had just walked up the surrounding automobile overpass to take some photos when a fracas broke out, the police started throughing tear-gas bombs, and demonstrators started throwing the sticks they had used to carry their signs. So we left the rally for a few minutes until things calmed down.
Back after a short break
At the bar to which we repaired, Ferdan observed that the Efes company, whose beer we drank, were cheating us by using sugar and rice in their brew. Later, one of us ordered another beer, but three came. They were a gift of the neighboring table, where a manager of the Efes company was sitting and had overheard us. (Earlier he had offered to photograph the three of us with my camera.)
Television news that night showed the events of Istanbul, where police
had used tear gas and water cannons to keep demonstrators away from
Taksim Square. One of the tear-gas bombs had gone off near a hospital
entrance. This was said to be a