May 1, 2014

Turkish police have fired teargas, water cannon and rubber bullets to stop May Day protesters, some armed with firebombs, from defying the prime minister and reaching Istanbul’s central Taksim square.

Citing security fears, authorities shut parts of the city’s public transport system, erected steel barricades and deployed thousands of riot police to block access to Taksim, a traditional union rallying point and the focus of weeks of anti-government protests last summer.

The PM, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – who warned last week he would not let labour unions march on Taksim – says both last year’s street protests and a corruption scandal dogging his government since December are part of a plot to undermine him.

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