Early in the morning on Sunday in Istanbul, a woman being dragged away by a male police officer to be detained alongside a dozen others, was heard shouting, ‘Take your hand off my breast!’
This was only one of a number of group detentions by the Turkish police, who blocked roads to prevent people from reaching Istanbul’s central Taksim Square. The area is closed to civilians on the orders of the Governorate of Istanbul, which has imposed a ban on Labour Day demonstrations in the area.
Dozens were stopped in their attempts to defy the ban, and taken into custody. Around noon, the Governorate of Istanbul announced that 164 were detained.
In another mass detention, a group including Zeynep Çelik, Istanbul representative of Halkevleri (lit: Peoples’ Houses, a network of community organisations), and Perihan Koca, spokesperson for the Social Freedom Party (TÖP), were detained. The police reportedly dislocated Koca’s arm during her arrest.
In a video posted on Twitter of the detention of Çelik, Koca and others, the police could be heard rejecting a journalist’s identification document and asking him to show the ‘blue card’ issued by the Turkish presidency.
The blue card in Turkey serves to discriminate against journalists who are not employed by media sympathetic to the government.
Around 10 were detained in another neighbourhood as they began marching and chanting slogan, ‘Long live the first of May!’, in Kurdish and Turkish. Their hands were cuffed behind their backs as they were detained.
Five members of University and Feminist Collectives were detained in another incident.
More than a dozen activists of Youth Committees were detained as they marched with a banner that read, ‘We will tear down this system!’ and chanted, ‘Rebellion, revolution and freedom!’