Istanbul Governor’s Office to permit rallies, demonstrations in just nine areas, Taksim Square not included
The Istanbul Governor’s Office has issued a list of just nine sites eligible for rallies and demonstrations in 2018, state-run Anadolu Agency has reported.
The nine sites on the list are the Yenikapı coastal area, the Maltepe coastal area, Kartal Square, Bakırköy Cumhuriyet Square, the Kadıköy Tuesday Open-Air Market area, the Pendik Open-Air Market area, the Bakırköy Open-Air Market area, the Beylikdüzü Fatih Sultan Mehmet Mosque parking area and the parking area in front of the ferry port in the Avcılar district.
The Jan. 31 statement also included routes for marches to and from the permitted rally areas.
Regarding locations permitted for banners and placards, the statement said: “Banners and placards confirmed by the Istanbul Governor’s Office will hang only in places approved by the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality and district municipalities.”
The governor’s office statement has come three months ahead of the May 1 International Workers’ Day. Union activists have been demanding to mark the day on the iconic Istanbul’s Taksim Square.
In 2010, Taksim Square was opened to demonstrations and meetings after 32 years.
Turkey banned May Day celebrations in Taksim Square in 1978 after 34 people were killed when shots were fired into the crowd in Taksim on May Day a year before. The ban remained in force until 2010, when May 1 was declared an official holiday.
Two years later, the authorities once again banned celebrations from taking place in Taksim Square, citing security reasons.