Peaceful marches for democracy and rights were called for and committees worked to organize them.
The government forbid the marches citing public safety concerns; organizers found the government's justification disingenuous and insisted that people had the right to march peacefully and that they would occur; the government labeled the planned marches illegal and provocations.
Massive counter measures were announced and tens of thousands of police were mobilized; streets and bridges were closed; public transportation was canceled; many, many police barricades were erected; an unofficial curfew and martial law were imposed.
In spite of the government's measures large numbers of people tried to take to the streets and were met with a massive police response - including shooting thousands of gas canisters and using pressurized water cannons.
Clashes occurred; some marchers tried to erect their own barricades; police chased marchers down on side streets and hundreds, possibly thousands, were arrested; hundreds of marchers were injured, some seriously.
As the day progressed organizers called on the police to lift some of their barricades and allow marchers to disperse; the police responded with more gas cannisters and by chasing down and arresting even more marchers.
The media were filled with charges and counter charges - democratic, undemocratic, reform, anarchy, freedom, repression, stability, public order, provocation, marginal politics, ....
You may think that this is describing what happened in Tunisia 28 months ago, or in Egypt 26 months ago, or in Syria 24 months ago.
But it is what has happened in Istanbul, Turkey this week and today, May 1st, when labor unions and opposition political parties wanted to celebrate International Workers' Day.
These are a few videos:
and a few photographs: