In Turkey, armed police and troops arrested about one thousand seven hundred people trying to hold May Day (1 May) rallies across the country -- in spite of a curfew imposed by martial law authorities.
In Turkey, armed police and troops arrested about one thousand seven hundred people trying to hold May Day (1 May) rallies across the country -- in spite of a curfew imposed by martial law authorities. Military security throughout the country was tight. Soldiers in combat gear, automatic rifles at the ready, lines main squares and surrounded areas where trouble was thought likely to break out.
SYNOPSIS: Istanbul -- Turkey's largest city with a population of more than three million -- was nearly deserted on Tuesday (1 May). Tension was running high with nearly everyone forbidden to leave their homes. Armed police and troops searched thousands of people in the city and surrounding areas during the curfew period. The curfew was announced by Turkey's Martial Law Command and was intended to prevent left-wing workers throughout the country from holding May Day rallies.
All but a few people -- such as doctors -- were allowed to leave their homes and an eerie silence settled over the normally bustling city. It was on May Day two years ago that thirty six people died in Istanbul's main Taksim Square after unidentified snipers opened fire on a left-wing rally.
Although May Day passed off peacefully last year, the latest phase of martial law brought widespread fears of renewed violence. All large open air gatherings were banned and curfew lasting up to twenty-nine hours were imposed.
These members of Turkey's pro-Moscow Labour Party were arrested by armed troops as they walked towards Taksim Square. Labour Party officials said they were accused of ignoring the curfew and forced to lie on the ground before being arrested. Among them was Party leader, Mrs. Behice Boran. According to Reuters news agency, the Turkish Labour Party commands a good deal of prestige in Turkey, although it has no seats in Parliament. The State Radio also announced that the leader of the Socialist Labour Party, Mr. Ahmet Kacmaz, was arrested. But Turkey's Interior Minister, Hasan Fehmi Gunes, said May Day had generally passed off peacefully -- despite earlier fears of an upsurge in violence between right and left wing extremists.