Woman in Red Becomes Leitmotif for Istanbul’s Female 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 teargas spray that sends her long hair billowing upwards.
Endlessly shared on social media and replicated as a cartoon on posters and stickers, the image of the woman in red has become the leitmotif for female protesters during days of violent anti-government demonstrations in Istanbul.
“That photo encapsulates the essence of this protest,” says math student Esra at Besiktas, near the Bosphorus strait and one of the centres of this week’s protests. “The violence of the police against peaceful protesters, people just trying to protect themselves and what they value.”
In one graphic copy plastered on walls the woman appears much bigger than the policeman. “The more you spray the bigger we get”, reads the slogan next to it.
The United States and the European Union as well as human rights groups have expressed concern about the heavy-handed action of Turkish police against protesters.