Trade unions insist on holding May 1 rally in Taksim

The Interior Minister said that Taksim Square, which has long been the heart of Turkey's May 1 celebrations, is not physically suitable for the celebrations this year due to a current construction project to pedestrianize the area.

Trade unions insist on holding May 1 rally in Taksim

World Bulletin/News Desk

Representatives of a committee of several trade unions announced at a press conference in Istanbul's Taksim Square on Thursday that they will ignore the interior minister's statement that the square will not be a suitable location this year for the annual May 1 Labor and Solidarity Day demonstrations held there and called on all workers to come together in the square on that day.

Interior Minister Muammer Guler stated last week that Taksim Square, which has long been the heart of Turkey's May 1 celebrations, is not physically suitable for the celebrations this year due to a current construction project to pedestrianize the area.

However, Guler said that those who choose to observe the day will be permitted to hold a press conference in Taksim Square and to leave flowers near the square on Kazanci Street.

However, the committee, which includes the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), the Confederation of Revolutionary Workers' Unions (DİSK), the Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Turk-İs) and the Turkish Doctors Union (TTB), announced that the trade unions will still celebrate May 1 in Taksim Square.

Taksim Square is of significant symbolic importance to the Labor and Solidarity Day celebrations. On May 1, 1977, 34 people were killed during a Labor Day gathering at the square after shots were fired into the crowd from a nearby building, causing security forces and armored vehicles to intervene.

Most of the casualties resulted from the panic caused by the intervention, which took place among hundreds of thousands of participants. The perpetrators of the shooting were never found and Taksim Square was thereafter closed to the May Day celebrations.

The event is considered the beginning of a period of turmoil and chaos that brought Turkey to the 1980 military coup. The military coup government prohibited May Day celebrations altogether.

In 2009, the government decided to declare Labor and Solidarity Day as an official holiday to be observed on May 1 and reopened Taksim Square to these celebrations.

Over three decades after the 1977 incident, known as Bloody May Day, Taksim Square -- under tight security – has become a venue of peaceful celebrations, aside from a few minor incidents in 2010.

Last Mod: 26 Nisan 2013, 09:36
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