NTV reported "Police and officials did what was required to control protests by members of Turkey's trade unions in Istanbul on May Day", Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday.
Though saying that he had been saddened by the clashes between police and unionists seeking to stage a May Day rally in Istanbul's Taksim Square it was the persistence of the trades unions in trying to gather in Taksim that had brought about the unfortunate incidents, Erdogan said.
"The incidents that happened on May Day saddened me, but the situation could have been much worse; the authorities did what they had to do," he said.
The government and Istanbul authorities had banned any May Day rally in Taksim, saying there was a threat to security. However, many of Turkey's major labour organizations insisted they would congregate in the central Istanbul district despite the ban.
Earlier on Friday, Labour and Social Security Minister Faruk Celik said authorities should explain why excessive force was used to prevent workers from trying to get to Taksim.
More than 40 people were injured in running clashes in the streets around Taksim, with police using tear gas and water cannon mounted on armoured vehicles to disperse crowds.
Last Mod: 02 Mayıs 2008, 18:12