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Istanbul police prevent May Day protesters reaching Taksim Square


Turkey

Istanbul police prevent May Day protesters reaching Taksim Square

Istanbul police have used water canon and tear gas to prevent May Day demonstrators getting to Taksim Square, the scene of widespread protests in 2013. They spiraled into nationwide protests after a heavy-handed police crackdown. Now the government has banned protesters gathering in the square.

The May Day demonstration is the first major gathering since police were granted powers to use lethal force against protesters last year, a move heavily criticised by human rights groups.

Turkish news wires reported that 10,000 police officers were deployed around Taksim Square.

Istanbul police said that
147 people had been detained, although activists disputed that figure, saying the detainees numbered at least double the police figure.

Critics say President Tayyip Erdogan’s government has become more authoritarian ahead of June elections.

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