In a joint press conference on the day before Labour Day, representatives of the Revolutionary Workers’ Trade Union Confederation (DİSK) and the Public Employees’ Trade Union Confederation (KESK) announced that they would be in Taksim on 1 May.
Süleyman Çelebi, president of DİSK, said that there would not be a rally, but that a “reasonable” number of people would gather in Pangaltı, a neighbourhood near Taksim, and go to Taksim.
He said that “this reasonable number will be a crowd that represents around 70 organisations, intellectuals and politicians.”
Istanbul governor Muammer Güler had announced yesterday (29 April) that he would permit 500 and 1,000 representatives of the Türk-İş and Hak-İş trade union confederations respectively to hold a commemoration in Taksim Square, and that DİSK and KESK would be offered the same.
Çelebi said in his statement that the size of their delegation should not be compared with that of the other two trade union groups.
The DİSK president announced that around 80 international visitors were expected from Germany, France, Belgium, Britain, Palestine, USA, Japan, India and the Netherlands to celebrate the 100th Labour Day in Turkey and express solidarity against the global crisis.
He expressed disappointment that the four trade union confederations had not acted together to succeed in having a rally in Taksim.
“We have learnt our lesson. In 2010 we will have to collaborate to support labour rights. We are aware that, in a country were more than one million people have lost their jobs, we can only win if we act together.”
Çelebi: "Warnings of threats unfounded"
Çelebi told bianet that claims by Istanbul governor Güler and Chief of Police Celalettin Cerrah of planned attacks by illegal organisations were aimed at frightening people and creating tension before Labour Day.
“I have heard accusations like that before every Labour Day. I do not approve of this kind of approach.”
Following the press conference of DİSK and KESK, governor Güler made another statement in which he said that a meeting in Pangaltı was unacceptable.
He reiterated that there would be no rally in Taksim, and that trade union representatives would leave flowers at Taksim Square at scheduled times.
The official schedule is thus that Türk-İş will be in Taksim from 8.30 to 9.30 am, Hak-İş from 10 am to 11 am, and then DİSK, KESK and others from 11.30 to 12.30. (EZÖ-BÇ/AG)
* This article made use of www.radikal.com.tr