May Day (Labor Day) Demonstrations on Thursday, May 1, 2014
Following the lifting of the decades-long ban on May Day protests in 2010 and the designation of May 1 as a national holiday, May Day events were peaceful for several years. In 2013, however, police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters who attempted to march to Taksim Square.
For this year’s May Day celebration, the Istanbul Governor’s Office has approved the Yenikapı (Europe side) and Maltepe (Asia side) areas as the official protest/demonstration locations. The U.S. Consulate General strongly recommends that all U.S. citizens avoid these areas, as well as Taksim Square, where the potential for unofficial protests/demonstrations exists.
In Ankara between 10:00 and 16:00 on May 1, a large number of people are expected to gather in the streets of Ulus, Kizilay, Sihhiye, Besevler and surrounding neighborhoods. Turkish National Police (TNP) expect more than 20,000 people at each of two different demonstrations - Abdi Ipekci Park (Sihhiye Square) and Tandogan Square (Besevler). The police have said that portions of Ataturk Boulevard and Hipodrom Caddesi as well as other side roads will be closed to traffic.
In Adana beginning at 13:00 on May 1, groups will gather at Ataturk Park and the Mimar Sinan open-air theatre. Both groups will make statements then will march towards Station Square. The group gathering in Mimar Sinan will follow Mustafa Kemal Pasa Street across Kasim Gulek bridge toward Station Square. The group gathering in Ataturk Park will follow Ataturk Street.
U.S. citizens should watch local media for details and for detailed information on related demonstrations in other Turkish cities.
The Department of State urges U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Turkey to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations/large gatherings if possible, and to exercise caution if in the vicinity of any of these events.