Turkish authorities detain 27 in third wave of May Day crackdown in Istanbul

In the latest government crackdown on protestors who attempted to celebrate May Day in Istanbul's Taksim Square despite a police attack, 27 people have been detained out of the 39 individuals targeted with search warrants.

Duvar English

The Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office on May 21 issued new arrest warrants for 39 individuals as part of an investigation into protesters seeking to celebrate May 1 Workers’ Day in Istanbul’s Taksim Square. 

In operations organized at various addresses, 27 people were detained in connection with the investigation.

This marks the third such operation organized by authorities against those who attempted to march to Taksim Square on May 1, a historically significant place for the workers’ movement in the country.

Since May 1, many protestors who gathered to march on Taksim Square have been detained in police operations and 48 of them have been arrested on various charges.

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

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

Labor unions’ call to march to Taksim Square was amplified by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). Accordingly, protesters gathered at 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.

Police raid leftist news outlet

At the same time as the operations against the protestors, the police also raided the office of the online news outlet Sendika.org in Istanbul’s Şişli district.

The leftist news platform stated that there was no one in the office when the police arrived, that the bookshelves in the office had been broken into, the cupboards had been rifled through, and the door lock had been changed.

The police lined up the books in the office on a table and seized the photograph of Nuriye Gülmen, who staged a long-time protest in the capital Ankara after she was dismissed from her job by the government.