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Turkish rally remembers 1970s massacre

Turkish rally remembers 1970s massacre
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More than a hundred thousand people have packed into a square in Istanbul for May Day celebrations, the first since the late 1970s when dozens of people were massacred by unknown gunmen.

After a long ban, the government agreed to demands from unions to open Taksim square for the event.

Security was tight amid a police presence of more than twenty thousand as the crowd poured in.

There were scuffles as one union leader tried to make a speech. The target of protests from within the crowd, officials removed him from the meeting area to a nearby building.

In 1977 unidentified gunmen opened fire on the crowd, triggering a stampede. 37 people were killed and more than a hundred injured.

The events of that year were prominent in the demonstrators’ minds. One banner read “I was there 33 years ago, now I’m back”.

Those responsible for the massacre were never found. They are believed to have been far-right militants aided by members of the intelligence services. The atrocity came at a time of political tension and violence which ended with a military coup in 1980.