Labor Day marked across Turkey
Having their application to hold a massive rally in Istanbul’s iconic Taksim Square denied by the Governor’s Office, the unions, chambers and left-wing parties called their members in the metropolis to an open marketplace in Bakırköy district.
The rally, which brought together tens of thousands, was organized by the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) and the Turkish Medical Association (TTB).
On the other hand, a group of about 10 people were detained instantly by the police after trying to march from the district of Beşiktaş towards the Taksim Square.
However, representatives of several groups, including the union confederations Türk-İş and Hak-İş, were allowed to place a wreath on the Republic Monument in the Taksim Square. All the roads around the Square, including the İstiklal Avenue, were closed to traffic until the evening.
On May 1, 1977, unidentified snipers opened fire on the crowd of hundreds of thousands of people in the Taksim Square. The stampede left 41 people dead.
In 2010, thousands of people gathered in Taksim Square for the first time in more than 30 years, but since 2012, bans have re-emerged on May Day gatherings there.
Türk-İş, Turkey’s biggest labor confederation, also held a rally in the industrial province of Kocaeli, with banners warning the government against plans to change the severance payment regulations.
The rally in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa organized by the Memur-Sen was called off after a tragic traffic accident.
At least five people were killed and 13 others injured when a bus carrying workers crashed into a car on the Birecik-Suruç highway. The workers on the bus were en-route to Şanlıurfa to mark the May Day, officials said.
Meanwhile, politicians also celebrated the day with messages.
“I would like to commemorate May 1 Labor and Solidarity Day for all of our workers who work and produce with labor and sweat, contribute to the development of our country and I hope this day will consolidate our unity and solidarity,” Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun tweeted.
Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader sent a message to his supporters for the occasion.
"I commemorate May 1 Labor and Solidarity Day with belief in the future that unemployment is resolved, business crime ends, poverty and inequality in income distribution is corrected; and a future that is based on production and job opportunities,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu tweeted.
May Day, first emerged as an event commemorating the labor of workers worldwide on May 1, 1886, when a group of workers in the U.S. held a massive strike for an eight-hour workday.
Turkey's first official May Day celebrations were held in 1923.