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Istanbul police detain dozens after May 1 protest ban

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Turkish police detains demonstrators as they clash during a May Day rally marking the international day of the worker in Istanbul, on May 1, 2021. – With the highest infection rate in Europe, Turkey enters a full lockdown until May 17, with all non-essential businesses to close and travel between regions restricted. Alcohol sales at groceries and chain stores will be banned to prevent unfair competition with closed small liquor stores. (Photo by AFP)


Istanbul police detained dozens of people who were trying to hold a May Day rally in the city on Saturday in defiance of a ban ordered amid the coronavirus pandemic. detained dozens of people who were trying to hold a May Day rally in the city on Saturday in defiance of a ban ordered amid the coronavirus pandemic.

At least 100 demonstrators were detained as they attempted to walk to Taksim Square, a traditional area of protest, AFP correspondents said, and in other areas nearby including the popular Istiklal Avenue.

Police officers pushed a crowd back forcefully using their shields, while other officers dragged protesters away, a correspondent said.

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The Istanbul branch of the Contemporary Lawyers’ Association said 170 people were detained.

Turkey has been under a full lockdown since April 29 with a third wave of the virus causing record numbers of daily deaths. Some 394 people died of Covid-19 in Turkey on Friday, official data showed.

There are often detentions during the annual May 1 workers’ holiday.

Taksim has been a flashpoint on May Day with frequent clashes since 34 people were killed there on May 1, 1977 during an unstable period in modern Turkey’s history.

A small group led by the Confederation of Turkish Real Trade Unions (Hak-Is) attended an officially-approved event at Taksim Square.

At least 11 people were also detained in Ankara after trying to hold May Day demonstrations, local media reported.

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