Woman in red dress, sprayed with tear gas by masked policeman, becomes symbol for Turkish protesters

…In her red cotton summer dress, necklace and white bag slung over her shoulder she might have been floating across the lawn at a garden party; but before her crouches a masked policeman firing tear gas spray that sends her long hair billowing upwards.

Taken in Taksim Square in central Istanbul, the image has been endlessly shared on social media.

The woman in red has even been replicated as a cartoon on posters and stickers and has become a symbol for female protesters during days of violent anti-government demonstrations in Istanbul.

Some posters show the woman towering over a police officer and say “the more they spray, the bigger we get.”

Turkey’s deputy prime minister offered an apology Tuesday for the government’s violent crackdown on the protests, a calculated bid to ease days of anti-government rallies in the country’s major cities.

The message was a bit mixed, however, as hundreds of riot police deployed with water cannons around the prime minister’s office in the capital of Ankara.

Bulent Arinc, who is standing in for the prime minister while he is out of the country, said the crackdown was “wrong and unjust.”

“In that first (protest) action, the excessive violence exerted on people who were acting out of environmental concerns was wrong and unjust,” Arinc said. “I apologize to those citizens.”

Yet the impact of his statement was unclear. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is visiting Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, has undermined previous statements by his ministers and has dismissed the protesters as a fringe minority stirred up by the opposition

To wit: Turkish PM: Protesters in League With Terrorists – Insists ‘Turkish Spring’ Would Be Impossible…

Now, just whom is ‘arm-in-arm’ with the terrorists…? Who are the men in civilian clothing attacking Turkish protesters?

From the Der Spiegel: Revolt in Turkey: Erdogan’s Grip on Power Is Rapidly Weakening… And, even ‘b’ at MOA thinks Erdogan is Toast

Here’s a great feed of the Turkish Spring, and, on Twitter at #OccupyGezi, #OccupyTurkey, and, #OccupyTeksim…!

My favorite tweet…

Turkey’s Islamist President says “Whoever drinks alcohol is alcoholic.” By that logic whoever holds power is autocratic. #occupygezi

In closing… USA, USA, USA…! *gah*

Update: List of Demands

Occupy Gezi Demands by Taksim Dayanismasi [Taksim Solidarity]

1. Gezi Park will be preserved as it is. It will not be exposed to any further works under the name of a barracks, mall, residential area, or museum, etc.

2. Unarmed and non-violent citizens who are congregating to exercise their constitutional rights will not be exposed to police violence. Those arrested for exercising these rights will be set free. All political, bureaucratic or public staff who have given the order to attack demonstrators exercising their right to assembly, those directing the attacks, and those individuals applying the violence, should be prosecuted in line with relevant legislation.

3. The main aim of the government’s privatisation and environmental policies is to monitor public profit. So that they may benefit the citizens of Turkey equally, the transfer, sale and renting out of public spaces, beaches, waters, forests, streams, parks and urban symbols to private companies, large holdings and investors will end.

4. Democracy does not consist only of going to the ballot box to cast a vote. Democracy guarantees the state itself as every group among the people expresses its needs and complaints without experiencing fear, arrest or torture. This resistance is a struggle for freedom of expression and freedom of thought. Those who want to save the park today have received the same treatment as those who advocated the headscarf yesterday. The Gezi Park resistance refuses every type of oppression.

5. We have seen the television channels, newspapers and news websites whose professional duty is to protect the public good and relay correct information have neglected for days this country’s citizens, youth and elderly who have been coming to Taksim’s Gezi Park to exercise their constitutional rights in a peaceful manner. For the media to have announced our resistance to the people on its fourth day is to disregard their professional duty. In this we call on the media—and especially the media patrons who owe their wealth to the people—to act in an ethical and professional way.