06/18/2013 05:59 EDT | Updated 08/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Man standing silently inspires new form of protest in Turkey

ISTANBUL - After weeks of sometimes-violent confrontation with police, Turkish protesters have found a new form of resistance: standing still and silent.

The first such protest was carried out late Monday by performance artist Erdem Gunduz, who stood for hours at Istanbul's central Taksim Square, in passive defiance of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The square has been sealed off from mass protests since police cleared it over the weekend, but have not sealed the square off from pedestrians.

Others copied him in Istanbul and other cities, and the act provoked widespread comment on social media.

Erdem's vigil was broken up by police early Tuesday after others joined him.

A police crackdown that began May 31 against environmentalists and other activists in Taksim Square set off protests nationwide