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Dozens arrested in Istanbul May Day clampdown

Unauthorized May Day rallies were met with tear gas and water cannons from police in Istanbul. Clamping down across the city, authorities blocked access to the city's central Taksim Square, well-known for protests.

An authorized gathering of hundreds of labor and union activists on the outskirts of the city near the airport was allowed to take place on Sunday, but May Day demonstrations of the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) and protesters trying to break through barriers to Taksim Square were repelled by police. Of the later group, state-run news agency Anatolia said 36 had been arrested.

Anatolia also reported that police had detained four suspected "Islamic State" (IS) militants for allegedly planning a May Day attack in Turkey's capital of Ankara.

In a separate incident, a man was killed when a police water cannon vehicle while trying to cross the street near Taksim Square. Officials announced that they had opened an investigation into the death of the 57-year-old.

The governor of Istanbul announced that 24,500 members of Turkish security forces would be working on Sunday "to provide for the security of citizens." May Day, traditionally celebrated as International Labor Day, comes at a particularly tense time for Turkey this year after a series of violent terrorist attacks across the nation.

Earlier on Sunday, two police officers were killed and 22 others wounded after a

car bomb exploded in the city of Gaziantep

, not far from the frontier with Syria.

es/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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