Turkey's 'standing man' wins German award

Erdem Gunduz, who gained international fame with his passive protest during Gezi Park protests, wins M100 Media Award.

    A Turkish choreographer who gained international fame by standing motionless for hours during protests that swept the country a few months ago, is to be honoured with an award in Germany.

    Erdem Gunduz, 34, who earned the epithet of "standing man" for his passive protest against the redevelopment of Istanbul's Gezi Park, will be honoured for his "courageous commitment to freedom of expression and human rights" with the M100 Media Award.

    On the night of June 17th, Gunduz put his hands in his pockets, and stood still and silent for eight hours.

    Within hours his passive resistence had gained attention on the internet, prompting hundreds to join him in his silent vigil.

    "With his silent protest, he became the icon of peaceful resistance and has been emulated around the world," said the jury of journalists, which will present the award on September 5 at Potsdam, just outside Berlin.

    "His weapon is creativity, his trademarks are courage and perseverance. That is what you need to promote free speech and human rights," said Potsdam mayor and M100 chairman Jann Jakobs.

    The M100 award is presented annually to someone who panellists believe has helped safeguard freedom of expression and promoted democracy.

    Last year it was awarded to European Central Bank chief, Mario Draghi. Previous recipients were Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard, who drew controversial pictures of the Prophet Mohammed, and the former French foreign minister and founder of Medecins Sans Frontieres, Bernard Kouchner.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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