May Day in Istanbul
By Ahmet Birsen at May 08, 2009
Turkish police attacked demonstrators who wanted to celebrate May Day at Taksim Square in Istanbul. Thousands of workers had begun to get together in small hours of May Day morning in Sisli district before the police attack. Muammer Guler, the governer of Istanbul, declared that Taksim Square which is the centre of Istanbul is a forbidden area for demonstrations or celebrations.
However, Taksim Square has symbolized strong class conflicts for all workers and leftists, because 36 workers was killed by extreme-rightist snipers in Taksim in May Day of 1977 and this massacre went down in the history as "Kanli 1 Mayis" (Bloody May Day). Since the '77 massacre, workers and revolutionaries have demanded that Taksim Square must be open area for demonstrations because it has a symbolic importance. But, the government has ignored this demand and has violently oppressed demonstrators.
In May Day of 2009, again, workers and revolutionaries, socialists, anarchists, feminists tried to enter Taksim Square led by DISK (Confederation of Revolutionary Workers' Union) which is the second largest trade union in Turkey. But, Turkish police used water cannon and tear gas against demonstrators; hundreds of people was injured and 108 people was arrested by the police. The conflicts continued in the course of the day and thousands of workers carried out to enter Taksim Square.
However, it will not be surprise that the government becomes more aggressive against the revolutionary opposition.