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Workers marked May Day rallies in Turkey

Hundreds of thousands of workingmen and workingwomen have marked International Workers Day in Turkey. May Day rallies around the country were organized by labour unions including the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DİSK), the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions (KESK), the Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects (TMMOB), the Turkish Doctors’ Union (TTB).

Two weeks after a tainted referendum vote gave President Erdoğan near unlimited powers, workers around the country poured onto the streets to demonstrate their continued opposition to his power grab.

Around 200 activists were detained for attempting to celebrate May Day in Taksim Square, the traditional venue in Istanbul.

Celebrations were held in dozens of provinces and districts to mark International Workers’ Day, with the traditional demands for better labour rights and democracy.


In Istanbul, the main centre of celebration was Bakırköy, where 60 thousands demanding better working conditions, the protection of severances packages, as well as an overturning of the results of the referendum. Alongside slogans concerning labour rights, tens of thousands frequently chanted against election frauds. In his opening speech Kani Beko, President of DİSK, underlined attacks against severance pay and job security. He shared concerns about state of emergency, decree laws and massive dismissal of public service workers.


During celebrations in Ankara, participants commemorated the martyrs of the 10 October 2015 ISIS massacre. Expelled academics were marching together with their students and chanting against decree laws, and for public education.


Memiş Sarı, Regional Representative of DISK, read out the statement and called for peace and labour rights. He criticized the government for allocating budget for war but not for workers. The May Day celebration in İzmir ended with the musical performance of the band Moğollar.


Thousands celebrated May Day at the Station Square in Diyarbakır, signs and banners in several languages decorated the rally area and protestors condemned the attacks on workers marching to Taksim Square in İstanbul.