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Police detain more than 20 in İstanbul who wanted to commemorate May Day victims

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More than 20 people including politicians from a pro-Kurdish party were detained in İstanbul’s Taksim neighborhood on Monday when they wanted to make a press statement for the victims of a deadly incident on May Day in İstanbul in 1977, Turkish media outlets reported.

Police prevented members of the İstanbul provincial branches of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) from making a press statement in Taksim in memory of the victims of a stampede in 1977 that claimed the lives of at least 34 people.

The square has symbolic importance after unknown gunmen opened fire on workers celebrating May Day in 1977, causing a stampede.

HDP İstanbul provincial chairman Ferhat Encü along with some journalists were among those detained.

Meral Danyıldız from the Artı TV station who was in Taksim on Monday, said she was prevented by the police from shooting a video although she repeatedly told them she was a journalist.

Turkey declared May Day a public holiday in 2009. But the Turkish government says only small groups of union members can cross police barricades and enter Taksim Square for May Day celebrations, citing security concerns.

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