40,000 police officers assigned for May Day
Fevzi Kızılkoyun ANKARA / Hürriyet
The General Directorate of Security (EGM) has assigned 40,000 police officers to work in Istanbul on May Day, as tight measures were taken to prevent any gatherings at Taksim Square.
Police officers will be transferred to Istanbul from seven provinces, such as Erzurum, Adana, Gaziantep and adjacent cities.
Some police officers will carry cameras attached to their helmets to record any incidents, with the footage able to be sent instantly to the stations. Police will use colored plastic bullets in an effort to easily identify provocateurs during the detaining. Workers will no longer have the day off on May 1.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had recently said he would not allow May Day gatherings in Taksim, while unions said they will attempt to march to the iconic square where the scene of protests have criticized the government since last summer.
The EGM has warned the police officers and their chiefs working in Taksim and other points in Istanbul regarding the use of tear gas. The police should announce a warning via loudspeakers or megaphones that they will use tear gas before firing capsules, so as to allow people to leave the scene or so passersby can move from the area.
Tear gas should be the last option to disperse groups during the police interventions, the EGM said, adding the police should primarily use water cannons and squibs to make people uncomfortable with light and sound before firing gas capsules.
Crisis desks will be launched at the Istanbul Governor’s Office, Interior Ministry and the EGM to follow incidents on May Day.
The same conflict over the areas designated for the May 1 events has been continuing in Ankara, too.
Unions and participants are insisting on gathering at Kızılay Square, while the Ankara Governor’s Office has only allowed the events in Sıhhiye Square.
Some 5000 police officers are set to work around the two squares and helicopters will also monitor the incidents.