Turkey celebrates May Day

A paternal leave form

In spite of the restrictions, thousands took part in celebrations of May Day, also known as International Workers Day, across Turkey, while Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hailed the contribution of Turkish labourers in a speech.

The major celebration of the May Day was conducted at Maltepe coast on the Anatolian side of Istanbul amidst tight security, as reported by the Anadolu Agency.

Public transport was affected by the rallies as several roads were blocked while metro stations in Ankara and Istanbul were shut down.

The central Taksim Square was entirely barricaded off by police, with images taken from the air showing the usually thronged urban space deserted apart from officers.

The march in the capital began from Ataturk Culture Center in Kazim Karabekir Street and later it culminated into an open-air meeting at Anadolu Square.

The authorities banned all demonstrations and gatherings there after massive anti-government protests erupted in June 2013 in the square and in neighboring Gezi Park.

In total, police arrested 84 people in Istanbul, Istanbul police said, with most of the detentions coming in the Besiktas area.

When the crowd marched on and chanted "Taksim can not be off limits on May Day", the police intervened and detained at least 35 people, the broadcaster said.

Police also detained a group of 50 people who gathered in Istanbul's Besiktas district and chanted slogans.

Thirty-seven people died on May 1, 1977 when unidentified gunmen fired on a crowd of protesters.

"With no preconditions or prejudices, we have come together with all labour unions and civil society organizations whose real agenda is workers' rights and benefits; we have had discussions and reached agreements", he said in a message issued on Sunday.

May Day is an official holiday in many countries, including Turkey.

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