Riot police in Istanbul fired water cannons and tear gas Monday to disperse pockets of protesters on the sidelines of a demonstration called by labor groups hoping to capitalize on weeks of activism to register broader discontent.
Two major labor groups urged their members to hold a one-day strike and participate in demonstrations in response to a police crackdown against activists who have led protests centered on Istanbul’s Taksim Square and nearby Gezi Park in recent weeks.
A rally in Ankara, the capital, took place peacefully, and there were no immediate signs that the police operation in Istanbul had provoked major clashes in the afternoon. Earlier, Turkey’s interior minister warned that anyone joining unlawful demonstrations would “bear the legal consequences.”
Meanwhile, in a sign of tension between rival groups, images from the Dogan news agency showed crowds of government supporters facing down some protesters. Some chanted, “The hands targeting the police should be broken.”