Turkey's first mass May Day demonstrations in Istanbul's Taksim Square took place in 1976, with the participation of hundreds of thousands. A year later, half a million people took part -- but 37 were killed by gunfire.
No one has ever been prosecuted for this crime, and for decades the government banned May Day celebrations in Taksim. Attempts to meet there have been met by tear gas, violence and arrests.
The violence peaked in last year when hundreds were injured.
This year, when unions including DISK, KESK and the Chambers of Medicine and Engineers announced that they would once again attempt to commemorate May Day in Taksim, the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded by announcing a ban on the event.
When union leaders attempted to hold a small press conference in late April (pictured above), police responded with tear gas and more arrests.
Turkey's trade unionists are demanding their right to celebrate May Day peacefully in Taksim Square, to commemorate the martyrs from 1977, and to call for trade union freedom, a more democratic society, an end to precarious work and better working conditions.
Please support them:
It will take you less than one minute to send off your messageof protest to Prime Minister Erdoğan -- click here to do this:http://www.labourstart.org/go/taksim
Spread the word about this campaign to your friends, family and fellow union members email this, and post the link to the campaign on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks. If your union has a mailing list, please send on this message to as many members as you can.
Time is short. May Day is only three days away. Our brothers and sisters in Istanbul need our help right now.