Turkey reinstates May Day as public holiday

29th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

The day, 1 May, has been reinstated as Labour and Solidarity Day after almost 30 years.

ANKARA – Turkey's parliament Wednesday passed a law reinstating 1 May as a public holiday after almost three decades.

The government-sponsored law, which declares 1 May as Labour and Solidarity Day, comes as a gesture to workers and left-wingers amid a bruising economic crisis and after a brutal police crackdown on May Day celebrations last year.

1 May, often seen by the authorities as an opportunity for leftists to stage protests and stir unrest, was removed from the calendar of national holidays after a military coup in 1980.

The day is still associated in Turkey with the killing of 34 people at Istanbul's Taksim Square on 1 May 1977 at a time of severe political tensions and street violence between left- and right-wingers that led to the 1980 coup.

The deaths occurred when unknown gunmen fired on a peaceful crowd of demonstrators.

On May Day in 2008, truncheon-wielding police clamped down on left-wing activists, detaining more than 530 people after trade unions insisted on marching to Taksim Square to commemorate the killings.

The march took place despite a ban on demonstrations there.

Trade unions have insisted that they will once again gather at Taksim Square on May Day.

AFP / Expatica

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