Labor and trade unions across much of the world organize demonstrations to mark International Workers\’ Day on May 1.
In Istanbul, Turkey, police used tear gas and water cannons against demonstrators attempting to reach Taksim Square, the usual site of May Day rallies. One year ago, the massive May Day demonstrations there grew into a huge anti-government movement.
Public transportation in Istanbul has been severely restricted to prevent groups from coming to Taksim Square for May Day demonstrations.
The Turkish government denied approval for celebrations at Taksim square for safety reasons, and suggested the traditional gathering should take place at a special venue on the outskirts of Istanbul rather than the city center.
Unions rejected the idea.
The authorities issued a similar ban last year, leading to thousands of anti-government protesters fighting with police as they tried to breach barricades around the huge square.
In 1977, 37 people were killed during May Day celebrations in the square when unidentified gunmen opened fire on a crowd of thousands.
More than 100 people were injured.
In 2010, the ruling AK Party government allowed Taksim Square to be opened for May Day rallies for the first time since the deadly 1977 rally.
In Moscow, Russian workers marched on Red Square in a patriotic display. Marchers held signs reading "I\’m proud of my country" and "We believe our president." The parade on Red Square was the first since the early 1990\’s.
Rallies also took place across Asia. Thousands of workers and activists took to the streets in Manila to demand wage increases amid rising living costs.
In Cambodia, garment factory workers demanding higher wages and better working conditions rallied in Phnom Penh.
Many Asian and European stock markets are closed Thursday in observance.
Thai laborers called on the government to improve working and living standards. They are also seeking a rise in the minimum wage. On Wednesday, Thailand\’s government and the state Election Commission agreed to hold elections on July 20.
In years past, Germany\’s capital city has seen police cars overturned and dozens of arrests on May 1. This year may be somewhat calmer with neo-Nazi groups said to have cancelled a planned march. Clashes between the far-right and leftist activists can\’t be ruled out, however.
Hundreds of Lebanese Communist party members marched to mark May Day, using the occasion to protest the worsening economic conditions in the country.
Indian workers and activists shout slogans during a rally by Indian Federation of Trade Unions to mark May Day. The workers demanded abolition of contract labor, safety for women and strict implementation of labor laws, according to a press release.
Various labor groups staged a protest in Belgrade in order to voice their concern over the expected austerity measures announced by Serbia\’s new government.
May Day rallies are also planned across the USA, including a large one in Washington D.C. that will see a march from Union Station to the Capitol building and then on to the White House.