Police and demonstrators clash in Istanbul on May Day, detentions reported
Police and groups of demonstrators on May 1 engaged in scuffles on May Day in Turkey, as detentions were reported across Istanbul, APA reported citing Hurriyet Daily News.
Two people who wanted to unfurl a banner for the May 1 Worker’s Day celebrations were detained in Taksim Square, which is closed to celebrations.
Two women entered the square despite tightened security measures and heavy presence of police early on May 1. The women unfurled a banner in the square but were initially halted by traffic police. The women were taken to the police headquarters.
Police also intervened in another group of around 30 demonstrators who attempted to march to Taksim from Beşiktaş.
Some of the protesters were detained, while clashes between marchers and police officers are ongoing.
Police also intervened in another group that attempted to enter Taksim Square chanting slogans. They were later detained after refusing to hand over their banners.
Around 300 demonstrators also attempted to march to Taksim from the Şişli district, but faced a police intervention with painted bullets. Many demonstrators were detained as they tried to escape to side streets.
Meanwhile, police tightened security nearby the square. Guests of hotels around the square were also checked before May 1. The square was closed off with barriers by police while traffic has also been suspended until the end of the celebrations.
Taksim Square became a symbolic venue for Turkey’s leftist groups after suspected ultranationalists opened fire from what is now the Marmara Hotel, killing at least 34 people in 1977.
Earlier on April 24, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said the May 1 celebrations would not be held in Taksim Square.