More than 160 detained as May Day marches turn violent in Istanbul


More than 160 people were detained by police in Istanbul on Monday after clashes broke out between demonstrators and authorities during May Day protests in the Turkish metropolis, according to the local Dogan news agency.

Stating that about 70 people were detained in the city's Besiktas district alone, broadcaster NTV said police deployed tear gas in the Mecediyekoy district of the city after clashes with protesters who were trying to reach Taksim Square, which was the centre of widespread anti-government protests in 2013.

May Day demonstrations on Taksim Square have been banned in recent years, although unions with ties to the government have been allowed to appear there to make short position statements. The Anadolu news agency reported more than 30,000 members of the security forces were guarding the square.

Separately, thousands of union members in opposition to the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan – along with other protesters – were able to gather peacefully in the district of Bakirkoy, where a protest had been approved by officials.

Ever since an attempted coup in July, thousands of people have been detained in Turkey or removed from their jobs on allegations of working to destabilise the government.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein, speaking in Geneva on Monday, criticised the government measures, noting that a "climate of fear" in the country exacerbated by the mass sacking of civil servants without enough overview to see if the punishments were appropriate.

Meanwhile, Turkish opposition leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu on Monday in a statement complained that government pressure was increasing daily and that basic rights and liberties were being destroyed under the state of emergency instituted since the coup attempt.    (dpa)

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