Police forces used teargas bombs and cannoned water to intervene May Day demonstrators who resisted on celebrating in downtown Istanbul, detaining 72 and leaving scores hospitalized.
Among the wounded who were hit by gas bomb shells, the situation of Meral Dönmez, a school teacher, Serdal Gül, a steel worker, and Dilan Alp (17), student, remains critical.
From the early hours of May Day morning, all transport access to Taksim Sqaure, downtown Istanbul, was restricted by an order of Istanbul governor and no May 1 demonstrators were allowed in the area.
Teargas bombs and cannoned water for 6 hours in Beşiktaş
In Beşiktaş district, demonstrators resisted police intervention for approximately six hours and insisted on rallying to Taksim Square for May Day. Protests resumed albeit organization committee's decision to cease demonstrations. Several injuries were reported.
07.40: A group heading from Beşiktaş to Taksim Sqaure was confronted by police gas bombs and cannoned water.
09.20: Police resumed interventions throughout the morning, chasing demonstrators in Barbaros Boulevard. Media representatives were among the affected.
10.15: A group of feminists, KESK, Yol-İş, Motored Vehicle Workers union members, CHP and ÖDP parties formed a crowd in Beşiktaş square. The number of demonstrators is increasing as nearby groups are joining.
10.20: Police intervened with pepper gas.
10.45: Ambulances arrived to the intervention scene. Police intervention resumed with gas bombs. Intervention tanks spray cannoned water at protestors in Barbaros Boulevard.
11.05: Contemporary Lawyers Association claimed that they were informed of police using plastic bullets during the intervention.
13.00: Following a series of negotiations with the police, May Day organization committee announced that they ceased the demonstrations. It said they are going to remain in the area for another hour and make sure everyone left the scene.
14.25: All groups left the area. An police intervention tank remained in the area. Traffic opened in both directions.
Hospitals, union buildings affected in Şişli
Police also intervened demonstrator groups who were heading to Taksim Square for May Day celebrations.
09.00: A group of protestors assemble around the headquarters of Confederation of Progressive Workers Unions (DISK) in Bomonti and rallied towards Taksim Square.
09.15: In Osmanbey, police warned the group to dissemble. Upon rejection, police placed barricades on Halaskargazi Avenue and used gas bombs and cannoned water at demonstrators.
09.35: Police resumed casting gas bombs as demonstrator groups re-assembled around DISK headquarters. One of the bombs hit the forth floor of DISK building. A smoke began to rise from within the building.
11.10: 12 people from DISK building were hospitalized at Şişli Children's Hospital.
11.25: The protestors crowd scattered as police intervention intensified. Clashes resumed in narrow streets.
11.30: Severe clashes were reported around Cevahir Shopping Mall in Şişli. Many people were injured.
12.30: Police resumed casting gas bombs around the DISK headquarters.
13.30: Protestors left Şişli area en masse. However, small scale clashes resumed around Bomonti, Kurtuluş and Şişli Children's Hospital.
14.00: Life went back to normal in Şişli.
May Day detentions
A total of 72 protestors were detained during May Day clashes, police reported.
"60 people were taken to Istanbul Police Headquarters and 8 were transferred to Anti-Terror Police department," Ceren Uysal, an advocate, told bianet.
8 of the detainees turned out minor and were transferred to Juvenile Police Department. Police informed that detainees were meeting their lawyers and testifying at interrogations.
Bozdağ: We deserve acknowledgement
Speaking at a hotel reception in Ankara last night, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ praised AKP's previous decision to observe May Day as official holiday and legally open Taksim Square for celebrations for the first time in decades.
"DISK is not insisting on labor rights, but only on an ideological standpoint. It was CHP who banned May Day celebrations in Turkey. AKP made it possible again," he said.
Beko: Marshall law in Istanbul
DISK Chairperson Kami Beko, on the other hand, claimed that whenever police banned May Day demonstrations, blood was shed. "Only in 2010, 2011 and 2012, there was no violence. It was when Taksim Square was legally open to demonstrators.
Beko added that the shutting down of all transportation and major roads functioned as Marshall law in Istanbul.
6 journalists injured
Police interventions in Beşiktaş district also injured 6 active-duty journalists throughout the day. The names and companies of injured journalist were as follows:
* Burak Öz, reporter, BirGün newspaper.
* Cihat Arpacık, reporter, Yeni Şafak newspaper.
* Fatih Yersiz, cameraman, Ülke TV.
* Zeki Günal, reporter, DHA.
* Mesut Gengeç, cameraman, Akşam newspaper.
* Erhan Öztürk, reporter, Akşam newspaper.
** This article has been compiled from various pieces of bianet's May Day coverage yesterday.
Most Read Today
Halkbank Deputy General Manager Arrested in US 29 March 2017
ÖZGÜR GÜNDEM TRIALS Özgür Gündem Editors-in-Chief on Watch Kural, Bakır Penalized 28 March 2017