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Clashes between protesters and police take place in Istanbul

May 01, 2014, 13:06 UTC+3
The activists tried to breach the ban on holding rallies on Taksim Square
1 pages in this article
© EPA/ULAS YUNUS TOSUN

ANKARA, May 1. /ITAR-TASS/. In two Istanbul districts, police has used water cannons and tear gas to disperse a rally on Thursday. Local police reported that several people were injured and there were people detained. The unrest is linked to the celebration of May Day. For security reasons, the authorities have banned labor unions from holding a several thousand strong rally on Taksim Square in Istanbul’s downtown. Part of the workers agreed, but several confederations of labor unions stated that they were not going to obey.

In the Besiktas district, groups of activists started to gather early in the morning. Among them, there were opposition supporters and members of the Communist Party of Turkey. After they surrounded the police’s water cannon, the law enforcers urged the crowd to disperse. The protesters refused to do so, and the police dispersed the crowd.

In Okmeydani district, the protesters have acted in a more aggressive way. Several dozens of people in masks and respirators attempted to get through the police cordon, but were rebuffed. When the police started to throw grenades with tear gas at the protesters, they started to throw stones and fireworks in response. A bottle with flame liquid was thrown at one of the water cannons.

At present, members of labor unions who disagree with the authorities’ decision are gathering near the offices of their unions to go later to Taksim. Meanwhile, the city’s downtown is cordoned by the police. Groups of police special task units are on duty on the Istiklal Avenue near Taksim. Other roads to the square, as well as several neighboring metro stations are blocked. Public transport is not available in Istanbul’s downtown.

The tensions amid attempts of some protesters’ groups to stage an illegal rally or to get to Taksim remain, but there are no major clashes reported. Organized marches of several labor unions are also on their way to Taksim Square. Earlier, municipal authorities stated that they would have to use force if workers attempt a massive storming of Taksim.

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