News / Europe

Clashes Roil Istanbul as World Marks May Day

Turkish police clash with protestors at a May Day demonstration in Istanbul, May 1, 2013.Turkish police clash with protestors at a May Day demonstration in Istanbul, May 1, 2013.
Turkish police clash with protestors at a May Day demonstration in Istanbul, May 1, 2013.
Turkish police clash with protestors at a May Day demonstration in Istanbul, May 1, 2013.
Selah Hennessy
Police in Istanbul have clashed with May Day demonstrators. The protestors were trying to reach the main square, where a planned demonstration had been banned. Elsewhere in Europe, May Day rallies were peaceful.

In Istanbul, police used tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators.

The government had banned a rally in Taksim Square, which is undergoing renovation. They said the ban was for security reasons, and clashes began after hundreds of people tried to bypass barricades around the square.

Ercan Karakas, a member of main opposition Republican People's Party, was there. He said May Day has been celebrated peacefully before by thousands of people and no one suffered, because May Day celebrations were not prohibited by the government. Prohibition, he said, always leads to clashes.

  • A May Day protester jumps away from a water cannon during clashes between riot police and protesters trying to break through barricades, Istanbul, Turkey, May 1, 2013.
  • Turkish riot police clash with May Day protesters in central Istanbul, May 1, 2013.
  • A man carries a portrait of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin during a Labor Day, or May Day, march in St. Petersburg, Russia, May 1, 2013.
  • Supporters of the Albanian Red and Black Alliance party shout slogans during a May Day protest in front of the Albanian prime minister's office in Tirana, May 1, 2013.
  • People carry a banner during a May Day celebration organized by the Austrian Social Democrats and trade unions, Vienna, Austria, May 1, 2013.
  • Lebanese leftist activists wave flags as they march during a demonstration to mark May Day along a street in Beirut, May 1, 2013.
  • Workers march during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 1, 2013.
  • South Korean police officers attempt to detain a protester during a May Day rally in central Seoul, May 1, 2013.
  • Protesters, wearing a horse head mask and chains, take part in a May Day protest in front of the Executive Yuan building in Taipei, Taiwan, May 1, 2013.
  • Garment workers attend a march to mark May Day in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, May 1, 2013.

Peaceful celebrations elsewhere

International Workers' Day, which is commonly known as May Day, celebrates the international labor movement. It’s a national holiday in more than 80 countries around the world.

Elsewhere in Europe, demonstrations to mark the annual celebration went peacefully.

In Greece, workers marked May Day with demonstrations and a 24-hour strike that hit transport systems and hospitals. In the capital Athens, thousands protested against government spending cuts and tax hikes.

Kostas Tsikrikas, president of the Confederation of Civil Servants trade union, said his organization would continue to battle against austerity. He said Greeks will continue to fight to overturn this unfair and dead-end policy that is destroying millions of jobs on a national and European level and is driving large swathes of society to poverty and destruction.

The Greek government is implementing a tough austerity policy spurred by its international lenders.  

Spain, Greece struggle

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have pledged 240 billion euros - or nearly $320 billion - to Greece since 2010. Greece remains mired in trouble, however, and now is in its sixth year of recession.

Alexis Tsipras, leader of the opposition party Syriza, joined Wednesday’s protest. He said the government had gone too far with its austerity measures, and that it is the workers on the frontline who will rebuild the Greek economy.

In Spain, the two largest trade unions urged workers and the unemployed to join over 80 demonstrations.

It was reported this week that Europe’s unemployment rate has reached an all-time high. Within the 17 countries that use the euro, 12.1 percent of the population, or 19.2 million people, now are unemployed.

In Greece and Spain, the numbers were highest - hovering at about one-quarter of the population in each country.

You May Like

Pakistan Among Developing Counties Hit Hard by Global Warming

Pakistani officials hope developed nations agree to scale back emissions, offer help in dealing with climate change

Video Speed, Social Media Shape Counterterrorism Probes

Speed is critical in effort to prevent subsequent attacks; demographics of extremists lend themselves to communicating, establishing profiles on digital platforms

Islamic State Oil Trade Seduces Friends, Foes Alike

Terrorist group rakes in up to $500 million a year in sales to customers such as Syrian government, US-supported rebels and Turkey

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Halmid Ochgulou from: Turkey
May 01, 2013 1:24 PM
Turkey is imploding... we hoped the Turkish military would take over the Islamic Government but the Turkish military is gutted and in the process of decayed disintegration. so sad to see a once so proud Military organization so humiliated by the Turkish version of the Muslim Brotherhood...
In Response

by: john from: richmond
May 02, 2013 8:40 AM
@halmid if that was true erdogan wouldn't have high ratings. Any country that is military controlled is corrupt.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigationsi
Katherine Gypson
December 01, 2015 10:06 PM
In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Social Media Aids Counter-Terrorism Investigations

In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, officials carried out waves of raids and arrests to break up terror cells. As VOA's Katherine Gypson reports, social media can be a key tool for investigators.

Video Russia Marks World AIDS Day With Grim News

While HIV infection rates have steadied or even declined in many European countries, the caseload has grown rapidly in Russia, as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow. Over half of the new infections were transmitted through injection drug use.

Video Pakistan Hit Hard by Global Warming

As world leaders meet in Paris to craft a new global agreement aimed at cutting climate-changing greenhouse-gas emissions, many developing countries are watching closely for the final results. While most developing nations contribute much less to global warming than developed countries, they often feel the effects to a disproportionate degree. As Saud Zafar reports from Karachi, one such nation is Pakistan. Aisha Khalid narrates his report.

Video With HIV, Can We Get to Zero?

The theme of this year's World AIDS Day is "Getting to Zero." The U.N. says new HIV infections have been reduced by 35 percent since 2000 and AIDS-related deaths are down by 42 percent since the peak in 2004. VOA's Carol Pearson takes a look at what it might take to actually have an AIDS-free generation.

Video Political Motives Seen Behind Cancelled Cambodian Water Festival

For the fourth time in the five years since more than 350 people were killed in a stampede at Cambodia’s annual water festival, authorities canceled the event this year. Officials blamed environmental reasons as the cause, but many see it as fallout from rising political tensions with a fresh wave of ruling party intimidation against the opposition. David Boyle and Kimlong Meng report from Phnom Penh.

Video African Circus Gives At-Risk Youth a 2nd Chance

Ethiopia hosted the first African Circus Arts Festival this past weekend with performers from seven different African countries. Most of the performers are youngsters coming form challenging backgrounds who say the circus gave them a second chance.

Video US Lawmakers Brace for End-of-Year Battles

U.S. lawmakers are returning to Washington for Congress’ final working weeks of the year. And, as VOA's Michael Bowman reports, a full slate of legislative business awaits them, from keeping the federal government open to resolving a battle with the White House over the admittance of Syrian refugees.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video After Terrorist Attacks, Support for Refugees Fades

The terrorists who killed and injured almost 500 people around Paris this month are mostly French or Belgian nationals. But at least two apparently took advantage of Europe’s migrant crisis to sneak into the region. The discovery has hardened views about legitimate refugees, including those fleeing the same extremist violence that hit the French capital. Lisa Bryant has this report for VOA from the Paris suburb of Cergy-Pontoise

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video Thais Send Security Concerns Down the River

As Thailand takes in the annual Loy Krathong festival, many ponder the country’s future and security. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

VOA Blogs