Internationsl Workers Day observed across the globe



    Internationsl Workers Day observed across the globe

    May 1, Moscow: Trade unions and other groups are staging rallies around the world to mark International Workers Day on Sunday.

    In Russia, tens of thousands of people marched across Moscow's Red Square on a sunny Sunday morning in a pro-Kremlin workers' rally. The protesters were carrying the Russian tricolor and balloons.

    As is typical for rallies organized by the ruling United Russia party, the May Day rally steered clear of criticizing President Vladimir Putin or his government for falling living standards. The slogans focused on wages and jobs for young professionals.

    Left-wing Russian groups held their own rallies.

    This year the May Day coincided with the Orthodox Easter in Russia. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov told Russian news agencies ahead of the rally that he celebrates Easter despite the Communist party's history of oppressing the Russian Church. When a supporter greeted him with "Christ has risen!" Zyuganov echoed "He is risen indeed!" in a traditional Orthodox greeting.

    In Turkey, police used tear gas and water cannons Sunday to disperse dozens of May Day demonstrators in Istanbul.

    Small scuffles broke out between police and demonstrators trying to reach Istanbul's iconic Taksim Square. Taksim has symbolic meaning as the center of protests in which 34 people were killed in 1977.

    In the Istanbul districts of Sisli and Bakirkoy, police fired tear gas and water cannon to scatter other protesters. They also rounded up at least 36 demonstrators, according to Anadolu Agency.

    The state-run news agency said police deployed to 15,000 officers and 120 water cannons in Istanbul, which has witnessed two suicide bombings this year.

    May Day marches were held elsewhere in Turkey without incident but were cancelled in the southern city of Gaziantep after a car bomb attack on a police station.

    In Philippines, about 2,000 left-wing protesters scuffled with riot policemen, who used shields and a water cannon to try to prevent the flag-waving demonstrators from getting near the U.S. Embassy. Labor leaders said 20 protesters were injured.

    Some of the protesters managed to break through the police cordon. TV video showed some of them punching a retreating police officer and using wooden poles to hit a fire truck.

    Police made no arrests and the protesters dispersed after about two hours.

    May Day rallies were held across the Philippines, with campaigning entering the final week ahead of the May 9 presidential election. Some of the candidates pledged to address labor complaints.

    Similarly, in Taiwan, labor unions took to the streets with a march to call on the government to reduce working hours and increase wages.
    Many among the Taiwanese public have been concerned that outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou's push for closer economic ties with China has benefited just a few. Young Taiwanese have seen wages stagnate and good full-time jobs harder to find as the export-led economy has slowed.

    Chen Li-jen, a protester with the Taiwan Petroleum Workers Union, said that while companies were seeing their earnings per share grow every year, workers' salaries were not rising in tandem.

    The Oslo Times

     
     

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