Turkish unions commemorate May Day victims of 1977

Members of Turkey's major unions gather in Taksim to pay their respects to victims of 1977 massacre

Members of Turkey's major unions gather in Taksim to pay their respects to victims of 1977 massacre

ISTANBUL - Turkey’s four major unions have gathered near Istanbul’s Taksim Square in memory of the victims of the 1977 May Day Rally riots ahead of this year's commemoration.

Three dozen members of unions including the Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions (DISK) and the Confederation of Public Sector Trade Unions placed flowers on a street near the square on Monday.

Unidentified gunmen fired on a 500,000-strong peaceful crowd on May 1, 1977, as they gathered at the site to celebrate Labor Day.

Thirty-six people died in the riots and fighting that followed.

- Venue rejected

Taksim Square remained closed on subsequent Labor Days until the government allowed rallies to take place in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but refused in 2013 because of extensive construction work at the site.

This year, the government announced it will not let unions march in the square and Yenikapi in Istanbul has been allocated instead.

However, unions have insisted on rallying in Taksim Square, which DISK Secretary-General Arzu Cerkezoglu reiterated in an address to unions on Monday.

Security forces have placed fences around the square and set up checkpoints at the entrance of Gezi Park, where last year’s summer riots spread from, ahead of this week's May Day rally.

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