Turkey: MayDay in İstanbul – Police bombed protesters with tear gas for seven hours in the area of Beşiktaş

May 1st – İstanbul:

In 1977, 36 workers were murdered at the Taksim square and the Turkish government forbid demonstrations at the same square.

In 2007, the “1 may platform” announced that they will be in Taksim square to commemorate the 36 workers that were killed 30 years ago.

In 2007, 2008 and 2009, people fought to enter the square and police attacked with massive amount of tear gas and dispersed the crowd each time.

In 2010, 2011, 2012, the government allowed people to gather at Taksim square.

In 2013, the government banned access to the square once again.

May 1st, 2013 – Beşiktaş, İstanbul:

Since early in the morning a total of 30,000 cops were deployed in the streets, including four police helicopters. Metro, buses, ferries etc. were not working; no public transportation was available. People tried to reach Taksim square from two directions: Şişli and Beşiktaş.

At about 7.30am, the police forces started to fire tear gas and water from cannons of their armored vehicles at demonstrators that were planning to march to Taksim square from Beşiktaş. Also, cops fired tear gas at 150 people in Gümüşsuyu who intended to march to Taksim square. Gas bombs were shot against groups that were gathered in Çarşı bazaar area. Upper access to Barbaros Boulevard was blocked by anti-riot control vehicles. Water cannons targeted groups that came from the upper side of Barbaros Boulevard.

At about 10am, clashes continued on Barbaros Boulevard. The cops did not allow the crowd to proceed to the area of Beşiktaş. As soon as demonstrator blocs, such as feminists, KESK workers union, ÖDP and CHP political parties, Halkevleri, Kollektifler, Yol-İş, and the Turkey’s motor vehicle workers union assembled at Beşiktaş square, the police started to fire tear gas. Protesters who escaped the attack gathered around the Kartal sculpture in Çarşı and were joined by more than 1,000 people.

Three demonstrators were seriously affected by the tear gas, running a risk of heart attack. An ambulance came to Beşiktaş square, while the cops continued to fire tear gas at people. Meanwhile, repression forces were spraying paint to demonstrators on Barbaros Boulevard.

“Everywhere is Revolution, Everywhere is May First”, “Everywhere is Taksim, Everywhere is May First” were the slogans chanted in Çarşı. The police threw tear gas bombs in the area.

At 11am, five persons were in serious health condition. Ambulance request was announced. Cops fired tear gas at the point where the injured were lying on the ground beside an ambulance (video). One person suffered heart attack. The Contemporary Lawyers Association reported that the police used rubber bullets. Demonstrators started to throw stones and ayran (diluted yogurt) at the cops.

By 12pm cops started to fire even more tear gas to the square and surrounding places, including tea gardens. Protesters got injured, besides the poisoning by the huge amount of gas. Clashes continued on street alleys. More ambulances were requested.

From Yıldız a large group of people started to move forward down to the Beşiktaş square. At about 13.30pm, the May 1st Organization Committee negotiated with the police. They agreed to stay one more hour and then disperse. While banners and placards were collected, and the dispersal was being announced, cops attacked with tear gas bombs again. The bus of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) left the square. Gas bombing continued. By 14.30pm all groups were dispersed.

A total of 72 demonstrators were detained and many more were heavily injured. Three people that were shot in the head with tear gas bombs are in serious health condition.

Sources: i, ii – Related corporate videos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6