After 32 years of ban, 100,000 Turkish workers gathered on Saturday for May Day celebrations at symbolic Taksim Square where unknown gunmen massacred dozens of people in 1977 demonstration, the state-run Anatolia agency said.
Members of the Turkish Confederation of Labor (Turk-Is), groups of people from Revolutionary Labor Unions Confederation (DISK), KESK, Hak-Is and Memur-Sen are celebrating May Day in Taksim Square.
Beside union confederations, political parties also poured into main Istanbul square, singing and chanting slogans such as "long live May Day". The crowds waved red-and-white Turkish flag, unions and party banners.
More than 20,000 police maintained tight security at the meeting, which started peacefully with many of those gathered dancing to the music of drums and pipes.
Istanbul Police Chief Huseyin Capkin said that they took security measures for workers to celebrate May 1 peacefully.
"We will celebrate Labor Day with a great joy and in an atmosphere of feast. I hope that Labor Day will bring peace and tranquility in the coming years as well," Capkin said.
May 1 is known in many countries as May Day or International Labor Day. This day is a holiday in many countries across the globe, including Turkey.
One union confederation leader was the target of protests from within the crowd as he tried to make a speech and officials removed him from the meeting area to a nearby building amid scuffles, television channels reported.
In 1977, 37 people were killed during May Day celebrations in the square when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a crowd of thousands. More than 100 people were injured.
The last mass May Day meeting in the square was held the following year before the celebrations were outlawed until this year.
Union leaders on Saturday tossed dozens of red carnations at the spot on the square where the victims were shot dead. A concert was to be held after the union leader speeches.
The ruling AK Party has declared May Day a public holiday and a delegation from the party was to attend the celebrations.
AgenciesLast Mod: 01 Mayıs 2010, 14:27