No easy May Day in Istanbul tomorrow
ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
Members of a May Day organization committee march to Kazancı Slope in Taksim Square to leave flowers for 36 people killed there in 1977.International Workers’ Day will be marked in Istanbul’s Taksim Square tomorrow by thousands even though the provincial governor has banned the meeting in the area due to the current pedestrianization work.
A number of unions again announced yesterday that they were planning to have Taksim as the center of this year’s events, overruling the warnings of the government and the governor.
“Taksim Square is the name of resistance and determination against the ones who ignore the values and beauties of this country,” the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) head Arzu Çerkezoğlu said, according to Anatolia news agency.
Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu has said roads leading to Taksim will be out of service tomorrow and some 3,000 police will be appointed to provide security. Previously, Mutlu had said this year’s May Day rally would not be allowed to take place in Taksim, although a short ceremony leaving a wreath in Taksim Square and a commemoration at the Kazancı lamp would be allowed.
The Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Türk-İş) and the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK) also put their weight behind holding the rally in Taksim. Lami Özgen, the head of KESK, said the governor’s office’s notification was unlawful and that a verdict given by the European Court of Human Rights clearly ruled that Taksim would be suitable for May Day celebrations.
The government in 2010 allowed Taksim Square to be opened for May Day rallies for the first time since 1977, when thirty-six people lost their lives in the chaos that erupted as unidentified snipers opened fire on demonstrators. However, the square is currently undergoing a massive and controversial renewal project, which according to the government would not provide a safe place to host the crowds.