Εκατοντάδες διαδηλωτές συγκεντρώθηκαν σήμερα στην Κωνσταντινούπολη για να καταγγείλουν την απαγόρευση της πορείας συνδικαλιστικών οργανώσεων που επέβαλαν οι αρχές για τον εορτασμό της Πρωτομαγιάς στην εμβληματική πλατεία Ταξίμ, την οποία έχουν αποκλείσει χιλιάδες αστυνομικοί.
Οι διαδηλωτές συγκεντρώθηκαν αρχικά στην περιοχή Μπεσίκτας και ήταν αποφασισμένοι να φτάσουν στη πλατεία Ταξίμ, την οποία φρουρούν ισχυρές αστυνομικές δυνάμεις.
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Το πλήθος κόσμου που προσέγγισε την πλατεία φωνάζοντας αντικυβερνητικά συνθήματα, όπως “Η πλατεία Ταξίμ είναι η πλατεία της Πρωτομαγιάς”, “Ζήτω η 1η Μάη”, “Μαζί ενάντια στο φασισμό,” βρέθηκε αντιμέτωπο με τους αστυνομικούς που ήταν εξοπλισμένοι με αντλίες νερού.
Οι αστυνομικοί έκαναν χρήση βίας και προχώρησαν σε συλλήψεις όταν μια ομάδα διαδηλωτών προσπάθησε να σπάσει τον κλοιό.
Εδώ και δύο χρόνια, η κυβέρνηση του προέδρου Ρετζέπ Ταγίπ Ερντογάν έχει απαγορεύσει συστηματικά τις μαζικές συγκεντρώσεις στην Ταξίμ, που ήταν το επίκεντρο, τον Ιούνιο του 2013, ενός πρωτοφανούς κύματος διαδηλώσεων κατά της πολιτικής του.
Όλα αυτά εξαιτίας του μακελειού που είχε σημειωθεί το 1977 κατά τη διάρκεια του εορτασμού της Πρωτομαγιάς, όταν άγνωστοι είχαν ανοίξει πυρ στην πλατεία, προκαλώντας πανικό στον κόσμο και τον θάνατο 34 ανθρώπων.
“Το 1977 έγινε μια σφαγή. Εμείς θέλουμε απλά θα είμαστε εκεί για να τιμήσουμε την ημέρα, δεν μπορούμε να δεχτούμε να τη τιμάμε διαφορετικά, είναι πολύ συμβολική για μας”, δήλωσε χθες Ομάρ Καράτεπε, ηγέτης της Συνομοσπονδίας των Επαναστατικών Εργατικών Συνδικάτων (Disk).
Παρόλα αυτά, τα μέτρα προστασίας είναι δρακόντια εν όψει και της εθνικής επετείου.
Here is Doğan News Agency’s live rolling footage from the demonstrations :
Here are the live updates:
13:21 – Hundreds of policemen, who were brought to Istanbul from neighboring provinces as May Day reinforcement, wear red vests today to easily distinguish them from local policemen.
13:10 – As police continue to use force to disperse groups in various Istanbul neighborhoods, demonstrations elsewhere in Turkey, including in Ankara, İzmir and Diyarbakır, continue peacefully.
12:45 – Police use tear gas and water cannon in Istanbul’s Zincirlikuyu and Okmeydanı neighborhoods.
12:39 – Demonstrators in Beşiktaş decline police offer to allow 300-500 people to march to Taksim.
12:32 – A policeman who was detaining a protester in Taksim kicked away an approaching stray dog. (AA photos)
12: 25 – A tear gas canister falls in a side street in the Kurtuluş neighborhood near Taksim.
12:15 – As demonstrators at Beşiktaş Square discuss whether to try to march to Taksim, police officers wear their riot gear.
12:10 – Police near Beşiktaş Square allow people in but confiscate helmets and gas masks if they are carrying them.
11:50 – Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Figen Yüksekdağ, accompanied by HDP lawmakers including Pervin Buldan and Sabahat Tuncel, arrive in Beşiktaş ahead of a planned march at noon.
11:29 – As a larger crowd continues to wait at Beşiktaş Square, chanting slogans, Murat Karayalçın, the provincial chair of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), says they want to march to Taksim to celebrate May Day but have no intention of clashing with the police.
11:16 – Police use force to disperse May Day demonstrators at Taksim Square, too, after some 30 members of Turkey’s Communist Party launched a blitz to enter the square by leaving a nearby hotel, running.
11:08 – Police use tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse a group who started to march from Beşiktaş toward Taksim.
11:05 – Several tourists attempting to reach their hotels in Taksim have been blocked at police barricades on main roads, forcing them to look for alternate routes with their luggage.
10:50 – A group from Beşiktaş football club’s leading supporters’ group çArşı enterBeşiktaş Square to the joy of the crowd. The group, which played a prominent role in the Gezi protests of June 2013, chanted slogans about both May Day and the current hotly contested football league title.
10:45 – Despite the tense situation in Istanbul, May Day is currently being marked in a celebratory atmosphere in other cities. The Black Sea province of Zonguldak is witnessing a Türk-İş union-led demonstration, while the Central Anatolian province of Konya is hosting celebrations led by the Hak-İş union.
10:32 – Police detain two women at Taksim Square when they attempted to unfurl a banner.
10:30 – Hundreds of people, who have somehow arrived in Istanbul’s Beşiktaş Square, and a large group of reporters, are continuing to wait under tight police control.
09:35 – Most public transport options are currently halted around Taksim to prevent more people from reaching the square. Public bus drivers stopped on E-5 highway, which is normally closed to pedestrians, and told the passengers to walk if they want to go toward Taksim.
09:05 – Police detain five people in the Okmeydanı neighborhood after gas masks and marbles were found on them during a search.
08:30 – A university student is detained in the Beşiktaş neighborhood for carrying a gas mask in his bag. Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Süleyman Çelebi intervened, after which the police released him.
08:15 – Istanbul police have stationed around 10,000 police officers on and around the square for May Day. Water cannon (TOMA) and police officers are waiting on the touristic İstiklal Avenue and other crowded streets leading to Taksim such as Tarlabaşı Street, Gümüşsuyu Street and Sıraselviler Street. TOMAs are also be stationed in front of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK) building in Istanbul’s Şişli district, Beşiktaş Square and Dolmabahçe.
08:00 – Beşiktaş Square, where unions led by DİSK, the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK) and the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) issued a call to gather for May Day celebrations, is under total police lockdown.
00:00 – Police started to close roads around Taksim as early as midnight. In addition to the main streets leading to the square, passages opening to Barbaros Boulevard are blocked by police squads and no vehicles or pedestrians are allowed to continue.
While taking pride in declaring May 1 as an official holiday in Turkey during the government’s rule, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu indicated on April 30 that any attempt to stage mass celebrations in Taksim Square would be interpreted by the government as an attempt to “create chaos.”
“Tomorrow Taksim will be accessible to any of our citizens who want to come ‘symbolically.’ They should come and lay their carnations and show their respect. At the earliest opportunity, I will also go there and commemorate our citizens. God willing, with carnations,” Davutoğlu said at a gathering with highway workers.
The May Day Organizing Committee, consisting of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK), the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB) and the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), has called union members and members of the public to meet in Taksim.
DİSK Secretary General Arzu Çerkezoğlu said on April 30 that there was no legal ground to block Taksim to May Day celebrations.
“May 1 is not an action day, it’s a celebration day. The government’s decision to block Taksim is unlawful. Our celebration area is Taksim Square and we are prepared to celebrate May Day in Taksim,” said Çerkezoğlu, adding that they were going to continue the dialogue with the Istanbul Governor’s Office until the last minute to remove the block.
Other unions, on the other hand, will not hold rallies in Istanbul. The pro-government Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Türk-İş), which celebrated May Day in Kadıköy district of Istanbul last year, is planning to hold a rally in the Black Sea province of Zonguldak, while the right-wing Labor Confederation (Hak-İş) and the Confederation of Public Servants’ Trade Unions (Memur-Sen) will hold celebrations in the Central Anatolian province of Konya. The Turkish Public Workers’ Labor Union (Kamu-Sen) also announced that the focus of its celebrations would be in the southern province of Adana.
The issue should be the problems of working conditions rather than the location of May 1 rallies, Türk-İş head Ergün Atalay told Anadolu Agency on April 30.
Hak-İş head Mahmut Arslan also said it was wrong to identify May Day with Taksim Square.