Police and May Day protesters clash

May 1, 2013 at 9:08 AM

ISTANBUL, Turkey, May 1 (UPI) -- Violent groups that held unauthorized May Day rallies fought with police in Istanbul Wednesday, Turkish officials said.

Representatives from the Turkish Communist Party, the Workers' Party and the Halkevleri Association attempted to march toward the city's Taksim Square, despite the government's prohibition on gatherings there due to ongoing construction, Today's Zaman reported.

Police threw tear gas bombs as the groups approached and detained two of the protesters.

Another group gathered in front of a union's headquarters, and some of those protesters threw lit fireworks at police and attacked area shops with Molotov cocktails, Today's Zaman said.

Police used gas bombs to stop the protesters there as well.

Authorities also used tear gas to stop a third group that was marching toward the central square while chanting terrorist slogans and throwing fireworks at police.

The heart of the May 1 celebrations has always been in Taksim Square, which was off limits to May Day demonstrators for decades after Bloody May Day in 1977, when 34 people were killed after unknown assailants opened fire on the crowd.

Since then, May Day in Turkey has been a source of tension, Today's Zaman reported.

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