Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Civilian whose drone was shot down over Turkey protests comes back for more video

Since May 28, citizens in Turkey have been protesting their government's plan to raze a park in the country's capital, and replace it with a commercial center and military barracks. Violence in Taksim Gezi Park has escalated much since then, with police hitting protesters with tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons.

On June 13, I reported on sUASNews.com that a civilian had been filming clashes between police and demonstrators from the sky with an RC aircraft, and that the drone had been shot out of the sky by police.

The drone's pilot, who goes by the name Jenk, was able to capture dramatic footage of the violence from the sky before his aircraft went down on June 11. Video from his DJI Phantom showed billowing smoke, and demonstrators scrambling to find cover from high-pressure water hoses and lobbing back the gas canisters from the riot police.

Now, it appears that Jenk has either repaired his drone or found a new one, and has returned to the Gezi Park protests to capture more aerial footage.

His newest video, posted June 16 on Vimeo, shows what he claims to be a person who was shot by police. His aerial video, which was shot at night, appears to capture a person in a crowd laying prone on the ground.

Activists have deployed unmanned aircraft since at least 2011, with drones appearing above Russia, Poland, Estonia, and Argentina (though the drone over the pro-democracy protest in Russia was piloted by professional photographers rather than demonstrators).

In February 2012, hunters participating in a canned pigeon shoot in South Carolina downed a small multirotor drone belonging to the animal rights group SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness). That drone and its video was recovered, but SHARK activists had informed me in an interview that it was just the latest time hunters had shot at their aircraft.

That group of activists is still engaged in a lawsuit with hunters to have another drone retrieved, which was shot down during an incident in 2011. Mike Kobliska, a SHARK activist, recently tweeted that the aircraft still exists in limbo - both in the legal and the physical sense:

Jenk also has submitted video of his DJI Phantom being shot down over the Gezi Park protests.

Police shot down RC Drone @ Taksim Gezi Park Istanbul from Jenk K on Vimeo.