Turkish police on Saturday arrested dozens of people trying to march for May 1 in Istanbul, despite a protest ban issued due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Istanbul governor’s office later on Saturday said 212 people were detained as they tried to reach Taksim Square, a usual place of protest, as well as in other neighborhoods including popular Istiklal Avenue.
They were caught as they tried to walk to Taksim Square, a traditional area of protest, AFP correspondents said, and in other areas nearby including the popular Istiklal Avenue.
Police violently pushed back a group with their shields, while others dragged protesters on the ground, according to an AFP correspondent.
According to the Istanbul Contemporary Lawyers Association, which specializes in defending politically sensitive cases, some 170 people have been arrested.
Turkey has put in place strict containment since April 29 because of a third epidemic wave that kills a record number of patients every day. At least 394 people died from Covid-19 on Friday, authorities said.
Arrests in Ankara
Arrests on Labor Day on May 1 are commonplace in Turkey.
Taksim Square has been a gathering place on May 1, with frequent clashes, since 34 people were killed there on May 1, 1977, during a turbulent period in modern Turkish history.
At least 11 people were also arrested in Ankara after trying to march on Saturday, local media reported.