Istanbul police injure 17-year old Dilan Alp on May Day
Dilan Alp, a 17-year old Kurdish high school student, was rushed to the hospital after she was struck to the head by a police tear gas canister during May Day celebrations yesterday. According to AFP, at least 28 people, including riot police, were injured in the onslaught and 72 arrests were made.
Thousands had gathered to march to Taksim Square and demand better workers’ rights, an annual May Day tradition, though the square was closed off. Prime Minister Erdogan released a statement earlier in the week asking trad unions and labor groups to avoid the city hub, citing renovations in Taksim Square. Riot police were dispatched to prevent the demonstrators from reaching the square with water cannons and tear gas canisters.
Alp, pictured above, and a 27-year old teacher named Meral Dönmez were both hospitalized for head injuries. Police deny Alp’s injuries were caused by tear gas canisters, instead insisting she fell on the stairs. This video reveals Alp lying on the floor unconsious as tear gas billows around her, right before riot police rush into the building:
News reports that both women are recovering from their head wounds:
Following a visit to seventeen year-old Dilan Alp at Taksim Training and Research Hospital, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Istanbul deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder said that Dilan can breathe now without a need for respiratory equipment.
According to Bianet, teacher Meral Dönmez has also started to perform vital functions without medical equipments. According to medical staff, Dönmez may face hard of hearing and balance problem in the daily life within the first year.
May Day celebrations had been previously banned in Turkey since 1980. They were reinstated as a public holiday in 2010. Turkish workers use the day not only to celebrate but to bring awareness to their grievances. They say they’re denied their basic right to organize and bargain collectively.