It’s the age of political protests. In Ukraine, Venezuela, Thailand and more, demonstrators are swarming the streets to voice their anger and dissatisfaction with their respective governments. Now a fresh round of protests are beginning in Turkey as well, inspired by the death of an Istanbul teenager who was injured during last year’s anti-government rallies.
Berkin Elvan, 15, passed away on Tuesday after being in a coma for nine months. On June 16 he had left home to buy a loaf of bread and got caught up in the protests. He was struck on the head by a police tear gas canister and suffered blunt force trauma. In July, angry crowds who’d gathered to hear his mother speak were dispered by Turkish riot police with pepper sprays and beatings.
It’s been relatively quiet in Istanbul since then, but Elvan’s recent death has reignited the flame. Enraged by the death of an innocent boy at the hands of the Turkish police, tens of thousands of people protested in over 30 cities across the country. Thousands of mourners turned up to Elvan’s funeral and began a march, while students in Ankara boycotted class and staged sit-ins.