ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkish police on Monday used tear gas to disperse a group of protesters as they sought to defy a ban and march to Istanbul’s Taksim square to celebrate May Day, an AFP journalist reported.
Police tried to stop around 200 protesters in the Gayrettepe district on the European side of Istanbul who wanted to walk to the famous square in spite of the ban by city authorities.
The protesters — made up of left-wing groups — unfurled anti-government banners as May Day comes after the April 16 referendum brought President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a narrow win to expand his powers.
“Long Live May Day, No to dictator!” the banners read. At least one protester was detained, according to the AFP journalist.
Turkish authorities imposed a ban on any demonstration at Taksim square, with police sealing off the avenue with barricades.
Several thousand people attended celebrations in an officially designated area in Bakirkoy district near the international airport on the city’s western side.