Turkish police clash with May Day protesters [Xinhua]
ISTANBUL, May 1 (Xinhua) — Turkish riot police on Friday fired water cannon and tear gas to disperse May Day protesters seeking to march to Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square to mark mass killings of workers there almost 40 years ago.
Istanbul’s security chief Selami Altinok declared that 136 people have been detained.
Turkish police have tightened up security measures in the city from Thursday night to prevent the protesters from gathering in Taksim. More than 20,000 police have been deployed on the ground.
Over 60 anti-riot water cannon vehicles have also been positioned around the main districts. All the roads leading to the square have been cordoned off by the police.
Despite the police lockdown, protesters started to gather in Istanbul’s European side districts of Besiktas and Sisli from early in the morning. The crowds chanted anti-government slogans demanding the resignation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In 1977, 34 workers were killed in May Day celebrations held in the Taksim Square when the police opened fire against the protesters. Since then, Turkey’s workers unions and laborers insisted [sic] to commemorate the killings in Taksim every year.
In June 2013, Taksim Square and neighboring Gezi Park have witnessed massive anti-government movement and protests to express frustrations with the ruling Justice and Development Party. The protests were later ended forcefully by the police.
On Wednesday, an Istanbul court acquitted 26 people charged with helping launch the 2013 protests, saying that there was insufficient evidence to prove them guilty.
However, there are hundreds of others in the country still facing charges of alleged crimes related to the mass protests.
Editor: Song Miou
This post edited by Zuo Shou