May Day detainees released in Izmir

Police in Turkey’s western Izmir province have released 31 people from custody following Saturday’s detentions from International Workers’ Day demonstrations, Turkish daily Cumhuriyet reported on Sunday.

Protesters were issued fines for violating the COVID-19 lockdown, which started on Thursday and will continue until May 17.

Another 41 people detained in capital Ankara during May Day demonstrations were taken to the police headquarters, according to left-wing news website Sol Haber. The detainees haven’t been released yet.

Meanwhile, Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya announced a total of 212 detentions in the megacity in a press release. Protesters will face charges for unlawful gatherings and resisting arrest, the governor said.

May 1 protests and celebrations alike were banned this year under Turkey’s prevention efforts against the coronavirus pandemic. Friday marked the highest-ever death count in the country, with 394 people losing their lives, according to Health Ministry figures.

Istanbul regularly sees hundreds detained on May Day as protesters push to hold demonstrations in Taksim Square, which has traditionally been home to workers’ rallies, but has remained off limits since 2013.