Turkish riot police clash with hundreds of stone-throwing protesters defying Istanbul May Day security lockdown. Mana Rabiee reports.
May Day protests in Istanbul turn violent... Police clashed with hundreds of demonstrators, despite a city-wide lockdown aimed at preventing rallies marking international worker's day. The protetestors were determined to defy the ban and march to Taksim Square in the city center. Riot police near the square used water cannon and tear gas on the demonstrators, who threw stones and bottles, and set off fireworks. Thousands of police manned barricades and closed streets to stop the protests. Much of the city's public transportation system was also shut down. Turkey's government, led by President Tayyip Erdogan, had denied approval for May Day celebrations at Taksim Square for safety reasons. Instead, it suggested the annual gathering take place on the outskirts of istanbul, an idea the unions rejected. Critics say Erdogan's government has become increasingly authoritarian and, as Turkey heads to new elections, the workers have used Labor Day as an opportunity to make their voices heard.