Tight security marks Istanbul May Day rallies

Almost 24,500 police officers are on duty in Turkey's largest city

Tight security marks Istanbul May Day rallies

World Bulletin / News Desk

May Day demonstrations in Istanbul have begun, marked by widespread security measures as almost 24,500 police officers backed by helicopters are on patrol.

Demonstrations in Istanbul have been allowed to take place in an open market area in the Bakirkoy neighborhood on the city's European side. However, gatherings in the city's famous Taksim Square site have been banned by the authorities.

Public transport has been affected, with several roads to Bakirkoy being closed to traffic. Taksim’s metro station has also been shut down.

Four people were detained by Istanbul police as they attempted to hold a protest in Taksim Square early on Sunday. Police made the arrests after intervening in a crowd of 30 people, who wanted to march towards the site.

Security forces used water cannon to disperse the group, with demonstrators taking to side streets after the chase.

In the meantime, preparations in the demonstration area of Bakirkoy are about to be completed.

Thousands of members and supporters of Turkish labor unions were being checked by police before entering the area. Roads to the demonstration site and streets near the area were closed off with barricades.

The rally in Bakirkoy will start at 1 p.m. local time (1000 GMT).

May 1 is celebrated by many labor unions and workers worldwide. May Day is generally a public holiday in many countries and is an official holiday in Turkey.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 01 Mayıs 2016, 13:22