World, Europe

Workers around the world mark May Day

International Labor and Solidarity Day marked with large rallies and demonstrations

01.05.2018
Workers around the world mark May Day Russian people with flowers and flags take part in a rally to mark May Day, International Workers' Day, at the Red Square, in Moscow, Russia on May 1, 2018. ( Sefa Karacan - Anadolu Agency )

LONDON/PARIS

Workers across the world on Tuesday marked International Labor and Solidarity Day, also known as May Day, with large rallies and demonstrations.

In the Russian capital, thousands of people led by Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin marched across Red Square to commemorate May Day.

The day, dedicated to workers around the world, is a public holiday in many countries.

It commemorates the struggle of the working class to win fair employment standards, historian Tatyana Sidorova told Anadolu Agency in Moscow on Tuesday.

People who worked most, earned less and did not have time to study and to top up their qualifications, she added.

"These unjust conditions resulted in the appearance of labor unions and labor movements which met great resistance from the side of the industrial elite. But when the labor movement became mass, employers were forced to meet the demands and to improve work conditions," she said.

In Austria, over 100,000 people gathered in front of the Municipality of Vienna building, where far-right groups protested.

London, Athens, Paris

Thousands of people also gathered in the British capital London on May Day for a traditional march. Gathering at Clerkenwell, the crowded procession continued into central Trafalgar Square.

Demonstrators shouted anti-government slogans to protest Brexit and austerity measures as similar marches were organized in other major cities across the U.K.

Thousands of workers and students in the Greek capital Athens protested against the government’s “belt-tightening” policies at Syntagma Square, where the parliament is located.

Some groups protested against NATO outside the U.S. Embassy in Athens.

Trade unions across France also held May Day rallies in support of workers' rights.

In Paris, the march was marred by clashes between police and a large group of far-left anarchist groups clad in black.

Windows of certain businesses were smashed near the Austerlitz train station in eastern Paris, according to media footage. A construction vehicle was also set on fire.

The Paris prefecture later announced that more than 200 people had been arrested by the end of the afternoon.

20,000 in Manila

In the Balkans region, various protests were held in Montenegro, Croatia, Serbia, Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo against poor conditions for workers in their countries.

In several major cities of Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi, labor unions voiced concern over the lack of workers’ rights.

In Manila, a crowd of around 20,000 people from different labor groups -- the biggest number of protesters recorded since Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016 -- gathered Tuesday and protested against a labor contract executive order.

Earlier Tuesday, Duterte had signed an executive order aimed at ending illegal contracts and providing security to Filipino workers. However, protesters claimed it was "anti-workers" and useless.

Separately, the Netherlands Trade Union Confederation also organized a gathering of workers. 

Malieveld Square in The Hague was filled with nearly 7,000 workers, according to an Anadolu Agency correspondent. 

The Netherlands is one of the countries that does not celebrate May Day officially. 

Germany 

In Germany, police arrested several workers during a May Day march in the capital, Berlin. Around 3,000 people joined a march in Oranienplatz square in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district.

Some of the protesters were seen wearing masks while others carried torches in the protest, which was called by leftist groups.

Flags of the YPG and PKK terror groups were also carried during the march through a pre-determined route.

A clash between police and the protesters broke out following the end of the march at Schlesisches Tor subway station when demonstrators started throwing bottles at police. Police intervened against the demonstrators, detaining many people.

Around 5,300 police were deployed for the May Day events in Berlin and in other states.

Northern Cyprus, Colombia, US

In the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Turks and Greeks celebrated the day together.

In Colombia, workers staged peaceful protests in the capital, Bogota, while local media reported that police arrested 14 people in Medellin city.

Protesters in Chicago chanted slogans against President Donald Trump, while demanding justice for workers.

*Maecy Alviar from the Philippines, Ahmet Gurhan Kartal from London and Hajer M'tiri from Paris contributed to this story.

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