1 dead, police disperse Istanbul May Day protesters with tear gas, water cannon (VIDEOS)

Turkish riot police detain a protester as he and others attempted to defy a ban and march on Taksim Square to celebrate May Day, in Besiktas neighbourhood of Istanbul, Turkey, May 1, 2016. © Yagiz Karahan
One man has been killed as protesters in Turkey’s largest city, Istanbul, tried to reach Taksim Square. Police used tear gas and water cannon against the demonstrators. The man died after being hit by a water cannon vehicle as he tried to reach the square.

A massive police presence was out in force in the city to prevent protesters from reaching Taksim Square, which was off limits to members of the public. However, 57-year-old Nail Mavus was run over as he was trying to reach the square, according to Haberturk, as cited by Hurriyet.

Mavus received mortal injuries. He was immediately taken to hospital, but he died.

Members of the public wanted to celebrate International Workers Day at Taksim Square, which has been a symbolic venue for protests in the past. However, the Turkish security forces were taking no chances and had almost 25,000 police on duty. Numerous roads were also closed to prevent clashes between law enforcers and demonstrators.

The police deployed water cannons to break up a group of around 40 marchers, who met near a hotel near the square. Elsewhere, security forces used tear gas against a group of around 20 protesters, all of whom were arrested.

With Taksim Square off limits, the Turkish authorities allowed trade unions to hold officially sanctioned demonstrations in the outskirts of the city in the Bakirkoy district, which is near Istanbul’s main airport.

Turkish security forces say they foiled an Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terror plot in the capital Ankara. The terrorist group was planning to carry out an attack to coincide with the May Day celebrations.

Turkish security officials told the Anadolu news agency that the Ankara anti-terror department had detained four suspects at midnight on Saturday.