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article imageTurkish bride wears hardhat in Gezi Park Special

By Lonna Lisa Williams     Jul 26, 2013 in World
Istanbul - Almost two months after the first Istanbul protests, a bride who met her husband at a protesters' medical clinic wears a hard hat over her veil and gets chased from Gezi Park by police.
Nuray Colok, a Turkish nurse, was volunteering at a medical clinic set up to help protesters during the worst of the police crackdowns at Gezi Park when she met fellow protester Ozgur Kaya. They fell in love quickly and decided to get married. Last Saturday, July 20, they went to Gezi Park to celebrate their wedding and were driven away by police.
“It was not a protest…. What we wanted to do was completely legal,” Mr. Kaya, a documentary maker, told reporters. He was wearing a black and white striped jacket, and his bride wore a white hardhat over her veil.
The hardhat has become a symbol of the protesters who have tried to protect themselves from police firing gas canisters directly at them. Five people have died, thousands have been injured, and 12 people lost eyes since the protests began May 31.
Nuray Colok didn't think she'd actually need her hardhat, but police attacked her wedding party, chasing them out of Gezi Park with water canon and pepper spray.
"Police hit me and my bride," Mr. Kaya reported.
Despite their troubles, the groom and bride looked happy together and celebrated with waves and smiles in front of a cheering crowd.
"Their love story is special, and I hope they stay married for 50 years!" one Turkish woman exclaimed.
"In the midst of all the police brutality, it is great that two people can meet and fall in love," a Turkish man commented.
If fact, police brutality continues in Turkey even after the world media has focused on other stories. Prime Minister Erdogan has strengthened his police force and encouraged them to attack protesters as soon as a protest begins. Erdogan is also arresting protesters and journalists. More than 1000 people have been detained in Istanbul, and many others have been arrested in cities like Izmir and Ankara. Doctors, lawyers, architects, and business leaders have been detained. High school and university students have been arrested for posting anti-Erdogan opinions on Facebook and Twitter. One man was taken to jail for selling flags at an anti-government rally. Almost 60 Turkish journalists have lost their jobs for covering the protests.
"Erdogan is proving that he's a dictator, just as the protesters called him," a Turkish university professor explained. "I don't know how much longer the Turkish people can live without freedom."
“These are just independent people who do not want to follow a leader like sheep. We’re not terrorists, and we’re not members of any party," Nuray Colok declared as she adjusted her bridal veil and hardhat.
More about Turkey, Protests, gezi park, Istanbul, Taksim
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