Istanbul court arrests 38 for Workers’ Day march

An Istanbul court has arrested 38 of the 65 people detained for participating in the Workers’ Day march from Saraçhane district to Taksim Square, on charges of "propagandizing for a terrorist organization and resisting a public official."

Duvar English

A Turkish court on May 5 arrested 38 individuals who have participated in the Workers’ Day march in Istanbul. 

Police had detained 247 people from their residences the following morning, claiming they “attacked” police officers during the march. 

On May 4, 182 were released from custody while 65 were transferred to the provincial penal court with “violation of the Law on Demonstrations, propagandizing for a terrorist organization, resisting a public official” charges. 

The court released 27 people on judicial control measures and arrested 38.

Some 217 protestors were detained during the May 1 Workers' Day celebrations in Istanbul, as the Governor’s Office banned celebrations in the iconic Taksim Square. They imposed major public transportation and road closures. 

Turkey’s main opposition the Republican People’s Party (CHP) called upon labor unions to gather at the party headquarters in Istanbul’s Saraçhane district, aiming to march to Taksim Square some four kilometers away. 

The march was cut off by the police barricades upon Atatürk Boulevard, blocking the road to Taksim Square.

The crowd demanded passage and had a stand-off with police, who responded with tear gas. The organizing committee decided to call off the march, and no longer pursue Taksim Square to prevent further scuffle. 

The leftist organizations and opposition parties pointed out the Constitutional Court’s December 2023 ruling, which rendered the governor’s Taksim ban illegal. 

The court found the closure of the iconic Taksim Square for Workers’ Day celebrations violated the right to "assembly and demonstration," given Taksim's "shared memory" and "symbolic value" for workers.