FEED: Workers' Day celebrations in Istanbul

Despite Turkey's several opposition parties and major labor unions' call to celebrate Workers' Day in Istanbul's historic Taksim Square, the government banned celebrations and put the megacity on lockdown. Police attacked protestors with pepper spray and plastic bullets, and detained at least 210.

A large number of police forces are deployed in Saraçhane, where most of the organizations called their members to gather before marching to Taksim.

Duvar English

217 protestors detained in Istanbul

Interior Minister Yerlikaya announced that 217 protestors detained during Workers' Day celebrations in Istanbul.

Istanbul Governor lifts some travel restrictions in megacity

Istanbul Governor's office announced that it lifted some of the travel and transportation restrictions imposed on the megacity to prevent Workers' Day celebrations.

The Taksim Square and the leading routes have been still under police blockade.

Turkish police detain 210 during celebrations, Interior Minister announces

Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya stated that police detained 210 protestors.

In its latest update, The Progressive Lawyers' Association of Turkey (ÇHD) has announced that police detained at least 216 people during Workers' Day marches across the city.

Protesters scuffle with riot police as they attempt to defy a ban and march on Taksim Square to celebrate May Day in Istanbul. REUTERS/Dilara Senkaya
Interior Minister Yerlikaya congratulates Istanbul police

Turkey's Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya thanked the police officers who attacked the workers who wanted to celebrate Workers' Day in Taksim Square with tear gas and rubber bullets, saying "I am proud of you." He stated that Turkish police "set an example for all police organizations in the world on how social events should be managed."

Lawyers' Assoc. announces 205 detainments

The Progressive Lawyers' Association of Turkey (ÇHD) has announced that police detained at least 205 people during Workers' Day marches across the city.

Police apprehend a protestor on a closed avenue.
DEM Party and TİP continue for Taksim Square

The pro-Kurdish Peoples' Equality and Democracy (DEM) Party and the Workers' Party of Turkey (TİP) announced that they would remain at the hold-up point with the workers, continuing to demand passage to Taksim Square.

"We shall not leave until the working people leave," declared DEM Party co-chair Tuncer Bakırhan. 

Meanwhile, police intervention continues at intervals. 

DİSK and KESK Unions back out of march to Taksim Square

The prominent left-wing DİSK (Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions) and KESK (Confederation of Public Laborers' Union) have announced at the Aqueduct of Valens that they would no longer push to reach Taksim Square.

KESK chair Sevgi Yılmaz said that they made the decision after facing intense pushback from the police. "We were met with such violence that we cannot in good conscience direct the crowd further. Pushing to march to Taksim Square would bear other risks, she said to Halk TV.

The crowd booed as the organization committee announced the decision. 

Several other unions said they would heed the committee's call. 

Marching workers were stopped by the police barricades at the historical Aqueduct. Union leaders tried to negotiate with the police to allow passage, to no avail. 

Turkish police attack protestors with pepper spray

Turkish police began to attack workers waiting in the Aqueduct of Valens in order to march to Taksim Square.

The police used pepper spray against the workers at close range after they began to push barricades.

Workers arrive Aqueduct of Valens

Despite heavy police blockade, workers arrived Aqueduct of Valens in order to march to Taksim Square.

Participants shout, "Everywhere Taksim, everywhere resistance."

Police do not let workers pass through the Aqueduct of Valens as it is a gate on the road to Taksim Square.

Labor unions have been waiting to march Taksim Square as the main destination.

CHP chair Özel, Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu arrive Saraçhane

The main opposition Republican People's Party chair Özgür Özel and Istanbul Mayor İmamoğlu also arrived at Saraçhane Square.

Özel held a meeting with the police chief for the removal of the obstacles to the march and announced that their demands were not accepted by the police.

Afterward, Özel and İmamoğlu joined the march towards Taksim, arm in arm with the union chairs.

Police detain 30 in Beşiktaş while marching to Taksim

The police intervened the People's Liberation Party members who wanted to march to Taksim Square in nearby Beşiktaş district's Barbaros Boulevard and detained 30.

Beşiktaş district is one of the gathering points for the main march in Taksim Square.

Celebrations start in Saraçhane despite lockdown

Many workers began to gather in Saraçhane Square and nearby roads in order to march to Taksim Square.

The photograph is taken from the labor confederation DİSK's social media.
Police detain 15 in Taksim

Members of the left-wing organization Youth Committees were attacked by the police before reaching Taksim Square after marching through the side streets leading to Istiklal Avenue with the slogan "Long Live May Day." The police detained 15 people.

HAK-İŞ organizes commemoration in Taksim Square

Conservative labor union HAK-İŞ Chair Mahmut Arslan and the accompanying delegation laid a wreath at the Republic Monument in Taksim Square to commemorate those who lost their lives on May 1, 1977, during a gun attack on the celebrations.

Since Taksim Square is banned for any celebrations, the government only allows labor union representatives to organize a short vigil which most unions refused to participate in this year.

Workers gather in Saraçhane amid intense lockdown

Most labor unions, political parties, and civil society organizations started to gather in Saraçhane Square in the Fatih district in order to march to Taksim afterward.

Workers who want to enter the area are subjected to body searches.

The road leading to Taksim Square was blocked with police barriers and armored water cannons (TOMA).A large number of police forces were also deployed in the Aqueduct of Valens, near Saraçhane.

April 30

The Governor’s Office in Istanbul on April 30 announced road closures and public transit limitations to prevent the May 1 Workers’ Day celebrations in the megacity. 

Here is Gazete Duvar's footage from Istanbul under lockdown: