Unions commemorate demonstrators killed during 1977, 1989 and 1996 May Days
ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency
Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) General Secretary Arzu Çerkezoğlu speaks during the commemoration at the infamous Kazancı Yokuşu downhill from Taksim Square. DHA PhotoTurkish unions have commemorated the demonstrators who died during the eventful 1977, 1989 and 1996 May Days in Istanbul, amid renewed tensions from the government’s refusal to open the iconic Taksim Square for May Day.
Unions first gathered at Kazancı Yokuşu, a street downhill from Taksim Square, where 34 protesters perished in a deadly stampede on May Day of 1977, as they were trying to escape after shooting broke out in the square.
The Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK) head Lami Özgen said May Day was sacred for workers, calling for attendance despite the government’s categorical refusal to open Taksim Square.
For her part, Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) General Secretary Arzu Çerkezoğlu said unlike the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), they were preparing for festivities and not war. “We expect all of the opponents of the AKP at Taksim Square,” she said.
The group then moved to Şişhane to remember a protester who was shot during the May Day of 1989, before commemorating three other demonstrators killed during May Day of 1996 in Kadıköy.
Police have once again taken extraordinary security measures days before this year’s May Day demonstrations by assigning 40,000 police officers to work in Istanbul alone.