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Turkish police, May Day protesters clash

Celebrations for May 1 Labor and Solidarity Day are beginning all across Turkey on Wednesday. In Istanbul, groups began arriving at Kadikoy Square to join the Turkish Communist Party's (TKP) rally to celebrate May 1. Individuals were seen carrying banners in support of May 1 at Kadikoy Square. Some of the roads leading to Kadikoy Square have been shut down to motor vehicle traffic and police forces have taken tight security measures in the region. Meanwhile, one of Turkey's biggest unions, Moral Rights Workers Union (Hak-Is) will hold a rally in the northern province of Karabuk to celebrate May 1.  As groups attempt to reach Taksim Square in Istanbul by walking from the Zincirlikuyu district to Besiktas, police tried to intervene. The pepper gas used by security forces also impacted local shop merchants.

Security was tightened around the office of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in the district of Besiktas a short way from Taksim, where the heaviest clashes took place, the Reuters photographer said.
 
The Istanbul Governor has prohibited May 1 gatherings in Taksim Square due to its currently being under construction, but groups insist on preserving the tradition of celebrating Labor and Solidarity Day there.

Police also threw pepper gas at the groups consisting of hundreds of masked individuals who walked from Okmeydanı to the Sisli Mosque.  The demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails and stones at the police.
 
The hundreds of masked demonstrators at Sark Kahvesi marched chanting slogans in support of the DHKP/C, a left-wing group that has intensified its activities targeting public servants and state buildings in the past year, including the February 1 suicide bomber attack at the US Embassy and the grenade attack on the AK Party HQ in Ankara.
 
Police teams have taken precautions to keep the groups restricted to side streets to prevent them from streaming into the main streets of the city.
Members of Turkey's main opposition party were among Wednesday's demonstrators, the Reuters witness said.
 
Two officers were wounded by stones and metal objects thrown at police lines, state-run TRT television said, citing the Istanbul governor's office.
 
Major roads, bridges and bus routes were closed for several kilometres around the square, with some subway stations also being shut off to the public in an attempt to keep people away.
 
A main highway usually clogged with traffic along the shore of Istanbul's Bosphorus was taken over by strolling tourists and the occasional jogger.
 
Injured persons moved to hospitals
 
People injured in the May 1 demonstrations are being taken to the Sisli Pediatric Education and Research Hospital. Some journalists working during the holiday came to the hospital with various wounds.

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