Turkish May Day protesters clash with police in Istanbul

Demonstrators try to protect themselves from water, sprayed by a police water canon truck during clashes in Istanbul, Turkey, Friday, May 1, 2015. Clashes erupted between police and May Day demonstrators in Istanbul on Friday as crowds determined to defy a government ban tried to march to the city\’s iconic Taksim Square. Security forces pushed back demonstrators with a water cannon and tear gas. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

ISTANBUL (AP) — Police and May Day demonstrators have clashed in Istanbul as crowds determined to defy a government ban tried to march to the city’s iconic Taksim Square.

Security forces pushed back demonstrators using water cannons and tear gas. Protesters retaliated by throwing stones and hurling firecrackers at police.

Istanbul’s police chief said around 136 people had been detained, according to private Dogan News Agency.

Authorities have blocked the square that is symbolic as the center of protests in which 34 people were killed in 1977.

Turkish newswires say that 10,000 police officers were stationed around the square Friday with water cannons to block the protesters. Protests are also taking place in cities across Turkey.

The demonstrations are the first large-scale protests since the government passed a security bill this year giving police expanded powers to crack down on protesters.

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