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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 17:19 GMT 18:19 UK
In pictures: Istanbul crackdown

Left-wing protesters in central Istanbul, Turkey

Hundreds of people have been arrested in Istanbul in a police crackdown on left-wing demonstrators trying to hold a May Day rally.

Turkish riot police disperse May Day demonstrators in Istanbul

Officers fired water cannon to stop the crowd marching to Taksim Square to mark the 30th anniversary of "Bloody May Day", when 34 people died after a shooting sparked panic.

Turkish riot police disperse May Day demonstrators in Istanbul

Violence spread to areas surrounding the square as protestors confronted some 17,000 policemen.

Riot police clash with left-wing protesters in Istanbul, Turkey

Riot police also fired tear gas into the crowds. Meanwhile, the authorities paralysed public transport, closing main roads and underground stations.

Demonstrators stand behind flames during clashes in Istanbul

In response to the police show of force, youths threw Molotov cocktails and set cars alight.

Riot police break up a May Day rally in Istanbul

Police stopped television crews setting up satellite dishes in the square - one channel did however film events from a nearby building.

Turkish riot police detain a leftist demonstrator during a May Day rally in Istanbul

Officers outfitted with helmets, gas masks and truncheons detained nearly 600 protesters in the ensuing clashes.

An arrested Turkish protester takes air through the window of a police van

This year's rally is taking place against a background of tensions over a disputed presidential election.


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