Tens of thousands of people gathered across Turkey, including Istanbul and capital Ankara on Tuesday to mark the International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day.
Labor unions and political parties, including the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) took part in a major rally in Istanbul’s Maltepe district.
This year the main May Day gathering was held at Maltepe coast on the Anatolian side of Istanbul rather than in Taksim Square -- a traditional rallying point on the European side.
Tight security was visible at all entrances and exits to the venues in Maltepe, Beyoglu, Sisli, and Besiktas districts; 26,174 police personnel were on duty in the city.
Participants of May Day rallies carried various banners, including ones which read “Long live May 1” and “Long live our fight for freedom”.
Public transport was affected by the rallies as several roads were blocked while metro stations in Ankara and Istanbul were shut down.
In Ankara, the main May 1 events were held at Anadolu Square. Around 4,500 police officers backed by helicopters were on duty.
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.
Turkish police had taken tight security measures ahead of the May Day celebrations in various parts of Istanbul, including Besiktas and Taksim Square.
Authorities banned gatherings in Besiktas and Taksim Squares.
Early Tuesday, police made several arrests across the city. Officers detained two people who wanted to march towards Taksim Square.
Police also detained a group of 50 people who gathered in Istanbul’s Besiktas district and chanted slogans.
Some unions, including members of the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions commemorated victims of the May 1, 1977, massacre by leaving flowers close to Taksim Square.
Thirty-seven people died on May 1, 1977 when unidentified gunmen fired on a crowd of protesters.
In 2010, tens of thousands of people gathered peacefully in the square for the first time in more than 30 years, but bans on May Day gatherings there have re-emerged since 2012.
May 1 is celebrated by many labor unions and workers worldwide.
May Day is an official holiday in many countries, including Turkey.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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