Turkish police used water cannons and tear gas on Thursday against hundreds of May Day protesters who sought to march in Taksim Square, the focal point of weeks of protests last summer, in defiance of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his administration.

Despite the lifting of a 32-year ban on May Day celebrations in Taksim Square in 2010, the Turkish government reinstituted the ban last year. Erdoğan had warned last week that he wouldn't allow protesters in Taksim Square. The prime minister has cast both last summer's street protests and a corruption scandal dogging his government since December as part of a plot to undermine him.

Demonstrators in Istanbul, looking to defy the government ban, were met by about 40,000 police officers, who blocked roads, fired tear gas canisters and used water cannons in an attempt to prevent protesters from making their way to Taksim square, The New York Times reported.

Some 40 people were hospitalized and around 160 detained, according to the Progressive Lawyers Association, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile, Cambodian protesters also clashed with police in Phnom Penh, Cambodia's capital, in defiance of a ban on demonstrations that has been in place since January. In Rostock, Germany, riot police had to forcibly remove sitting protesters, who were blocking the streets.

Despite the violence that has marred some May Day demonstrations, the world continues to celebrate what is also known as International Workers' Day each May 1. Elsewhere, protests and demonstrations were relatively calm in such cities as London, Paris and Valencia.

Here's a look in photos at several May Day demonstrations and celebrations around the world: