Nuray and Ozgur fell in love behind the barricades of last month’s mass anti-government protests in Istanbul, and their wedding ceremony would have been incomplete without the Turkish police.
So when the couple picked the epicentre of the revolt on Taksim Square as the venue to tie the knot Saturday, the anti-riot police obliged and provided the water cannon.
Baton-wielding police broke up a crowd of around a thousand fellow activists who had turned up for the wedding of Nuray Cokol, a 32-year-old nurse, and Ozgur Kaya, a 34-year-old electrician, in Gezi Park.
The wedding guests, veterans of the protests that started on May 31 and rattled Turkey’s government, had turned up to celebrate what the Turkish press has called “the love story of the uprising”.
“Long live the resistance, long live love,” shouted the protesters-cum-wedding guests before police backed by water cannon dispersed them.
Five people died during the three weeks of protests that saw an estimated 2.5 million people take to the streets in 80 different cities to demand Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s resignation.
What began as a protest against plans to redevelop Gezi Park, which is adjacent to Istanbul’s Taksim Square, soon evolved into an unprecedented nationwide movement against Turkey’s Islamist-rooted government.
The authorities had closed the park to the public after police forced protesters out on June 15. It was reopened 10 days ago but demonstrations remain banned.