May Day Protests in Turkey Turn Violent

In Turkey, riot police had to use a water cannon and tear gas to prevent demonstrators from defying the government’s ban on protests in Taksim Square in the center of Istanbul.

The news agency Anatolia said a number of demonstrators had been injured, while at least a handful were detained by authorities. Authorities used strong security measures with streets and roads close off to traffic near Taksim Square from early in the morning onwards.

Media in Turkey said over 40,000 police had been deployed across the city for the May 1 expected protests and rallies.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister warned people earlier that they should not bother to consider gathering near Taksim Square, which has been a focal point of the protests against the government.

The traditional rallying or staging area for protests was nearly empty due to access being restricted by police in Istanbul as part of the security measures for May Day.

However, on Wednesday, a joint statement released from the major trade unions in the country, said they would arrive in Taksim Square despite the illegal and irrational ban. Every road will lead to the square on May Day, ended the statement.

Erdogan’s party was able to win March’s local elections. That had been the first vote since the June protests and was looked at as a form of barometer for Erdogan’s popularity.

Prime Minister Erdogan has been looking at running in August for the presidency, which is the first time Turkish voters will elect a head of state directly. He might also look to change certain rules that would allow him to run for a fourth term as the Prime Minister.

In other May Day celebrations, many people had been reportedly beaten by Cambodia security forces who were attempting to break up a march by the opposition in Phnom Penh the capital city.

Over 100,000 Russians have participated in a Red Square parade in the city of Moscow, reviving the tradition in the country that had last been seen prior to the Soviet Union collapsing back in 1991.

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