| Social Issues |Bağımsız



I have been attending protests for years now; always the same faces, the same people…

There is a group of people who seem to be the permanent staff of the protests…

Most of them I know very well, the rest I know by face.

Moreover, some of our older brothers and sisters, the regulars of protests, lost their lives; so we have become much less…

A total of 32 organisations, including some trade unions, political parties and other constituents of civil society, organised a “demonstration against poverty, corruption, injustice and a lack of solutions”.

They marched from Dereboyu traffic lights to the parliament and gave speeches in front of the parliament.

I thought that more people than usual would not participate in this demonstration, and I was not wrong…

32 organisations supported the action…

In an action supported by so many organisations, there should be such a flood of people that they should not fit on the streets.

It is easy to say 32 organisations; yet, many organisations have names, but not the power to bring their members to the streets.

Most of the participants were gathered by one or two political parties, and one or two trade unions.

Without them, the protest would have been even more uninspiring.

So, did the participants do justice to the demonstration? Yes they did; they did their job right.

However, one would expect more participation in a demonstration supported by 32 organisations.

Some of the protesters said that the timing was wrong, pointing out that the demonstration coincided with the İsias Trial [Editor’s note: legal action pursued by the families of 35 Turkish Cypriots, including 24 children from Famagusta, who lost their lives when a hotel in Adıyaman, Turkey, collapsed during the earthquake of 6 February 2023], and that a few days later, there would be the May Day event.

“This demonstration should have been postponed to another date,” some said.
What if the demonstration had not coincided with the İsias Trial, and there was no May Day event a few days later; would it have been more crowded?

I don’t think so… In my opinion, nothing would have changed…

Some friends have been saying that these street protests should come to an end, and other methods should be tried.

Yet, street protests exist all over the world; even in the most modern countries.

No matter how much technology advances, no matter how much conditions change, there is always the power of the street.

If it is done well, the effect of taking to the streets is powerful.

However, some people in our country are convinced that street protests are no longer effective.

Already, there are people who say, “What will happen if they march on the streets? What will change if there is a demonstration?”

Since there have been many ineffective protests in our country, the power of protests in general has become questionable; there is no more faith in it.

Of course, there is a need for actions where the people can show their reaction to the rulers in a real sense and observe their impact.

In the current situation, people believe that they do not have the power to change things.

Even among those who participate in the protests regularly, there are those who think that things will not change.

However, most of those who regularly participate in protests are there due to the culture in which they were brought up.

Yes, there is a generation that comes from a culture of protest; unfortunately, most of them are middle-aged and above.

Sadly, the majority of those who do not believe in activism are young people.

Most of the young people think that “nothing will happen in this country”; they see such protests as a waste of time, they would rather emigrate than engage in the protests.

They say to their elders, “You have tried so hard until today, but what happened in the end?”

Of course, they have a point, when they see the life in people-oriented, prosperous, modern countries; when they think that they will have a better life with the opportunities there, they tend to migrate, but if everyone does this, what will happen to this country?

How many people are left in this country, anyway; if the emigration of our young people continues, the situation will get worse.

So, what else? There are also those who don’t join the protests even though they are not happy with their lives, right?

I said earlier that there are many people who somehow benefit from the existing status quo and don’t want it to be disrupted. Those are the ones who don’t join the protests…

They want there to be demonstrations, they want rights to be achieved through these actions, but they themselves should not be seen there.

Oh, isn’t that nice?

In fact, the problem is not only that the protests are not widely participated in; we don’t know, or have forgotten about social opposition in general.

Yes, there is a serious need for a knowledge and culture of social opposition.

Our people have become unable to claim their rights, and this situation must be overcome quickly.

People who cannot claim their rights are always doomed to be victims.


Ali Baturay was born in Klavia (Alanici) village of Larnaca on 14 October 1968. He studied journalism. He holds a master’s degree focusing on “New Media and Changing Newspapers and Journalism in the Northern Part of Cyprus”. He worked for Halkın Sesi Newspaper between 1986-1995, for Yenidüzen Newspaper between 1995-1998 and for KIBRIS Newspaper for 22 years, between 1998-2020. He worked as news director, managing editor and editor-in-chief at KIBRIS Newspaper. In February 2020, he moved to digital newspaper Haber Kıbrıs as general editorial coordinator, where he also wrote daily columns and produced a programme on Haber Kıbrıs WEB TV. As of January 2023, he works as the editor-in-chief of digital news site Bağımsız.

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