Clashes have erupted in Istanbul between May Day demonstrators and riot police as crowds determined to defy a government ban tried to march to the city’s iconic Taksim Square.

Security forces pushed back demonstrators with water cannons and tear gas. Protesters retaliated by throwing objects at police.

Demonstrators massed at spots throughout the city, as well as in other cities in Turkey, determined to mark International Workers’ Day at Taksim on Thursday.

Before being declared a national holiday in 2009, May 1 was a day of conflict that often led to violence across Turkey.

Taksim is symbolic for Turkey’s labour movement. In 1977, 34 people were killed in the square during a May Day event when shots were fired into the crowd from a nearby building.

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