Riot police watched as Istanbul protesters broke their fast together in a massive banquet that stretched far along Istiklal Avenue in a splendid show of unity, Reuters reports. Though the police used teargas and water cannons to clear them out of Gezi Park a mere two nights ago, on Tuesday they allowed the protesters to break their fast together before resuming efforts to force them to leave.
Gezi Park has become the symbol which people have rallied behind to protest Prime Minister Tayyip Ergogan's government, which many consider authoritarian. Protesters celebrated the first day of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of fasting, by breaking bread together in defiance of the police.
Iftar dinners were also held in a pedestrian street near Gezi Park and hosted by the Revolutionary Muslims and Anti-Capitalist Muslims, two leftist groups which sympathize with the protesters. Ramadan is a time for communities to unite and reflect on social issues, and the iftar dinners are a way for participants to come together.
"I hope the state will understand what these people have been trying to say with the protests. It is a constitutional right to enter a public space and protest," said Ozge Dogu, a 23-year-old university student.