Istanbul police disperse May Day protesters


Brief clashes erupt as Turkish police use tear gas and water cannon against demonstrators amid security lockdown.Turkish police have briefly clashed with protesters in Istanbul after
putting the city under a security lockdown in a bid to thwart
demonstrations on a tense Labour Day.

Al Jazeera's Can Hasasu, reporting from Istanbul's central Besiktas
district, said about 2,000 people from leftist groups had gathered there
before Friday's clashes.
Police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the
crowd. Protesters retaliated by throwing stones and hurling firecrackers
at police.
"The police claim they used these measures against a small group of
masked men, but they later used it on the rest of the group which was
peacefully demonstrating," our correspondent said, adding that the
Besiktas square was cleared after the incident.
Clashes were also reported in the Okmeydani district. The area has
been a protest hotspot since anti-government clashes rocked Istanbul in
2013.
Police tightened security across the city, blocking all vehicle
access to the central Taksim Square, and halting accessibility by public
transport.
At least 10,000 police were mobilised as a preventative measure.

The governor of Istanbul, Vasip Sahin, said demonstrations would not
be allowed in Taksim Square as the area was "not adapted to the
commemorations for May 1" and there was a risk to "security and
property".
Security checkpoints restricting access to residents only and preventing groups from entering were set up in the Taksim area.

Unions and activists have made clear they still intend to take to the streets, in defiance of the restrictions.
Labour Day has seen recurring clashes in previous years between security forces and leftist protesters.
This year's demonstrations come just two months after parliament
passed a controversial security bill giving the police greater powers to
crack down on protests.Source: Al Jazeera and agencies.