May Day Rallies Held Around the World

Posted May 1st, 2012 at 9:35 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

Tens of thousands of workers are taking to the streets in cities around the world to mark International Workers Day with marches and calls for higher pay and better working conditions.

In Asia, thousands gathered in the capital cities of Thailand, Bangladesh and Indonesia to mark May Day with a rallies organized by trade unions. The French news agency says the rally in Jakarta was the biggest on the continent.

In Taiwan, one 30-year-old nurse, Li Hua-Cheng, deplored her working conditions in a hospital.

“We have been oppressed by the hospitals for a long time, and it has been hard especially when one person has to handle three people's jobs until we eventually develop health problems. This is very inhumane. Moreover, if we have health problems, then we can't provide good care to the patients, and if something happens to the patients, we could make mistakes because of fatigue.”

In Russia, President-elect Vladimir Putin and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev joined tens of thousands in a march through Moscow. Marchers held huge banners supporting their labor unions and factories.

One pensioner, Anna Maltseva, said May Day was a celebration of the solidarity of workers throughout the world.

“I would like this day not just to be a labor holiday every year, celebrating May and freedom, but an international day of solidarity among working people, when we all support each other widely, at least on this day.”

Elsewhere in Europe, protests were fueled by the growing sentiment against the austerity measures imposed by governments in Greece, Spain and elsewhere to cut government budget deficits. In Madrid, thousands protested against the highest jobless rate in the 17-nation euro currency union and labor reforms that make it easier to fire workers.

In the U.S., Occupy protesters are planning demonstrations in New York to try to blockade a major bridge and shut down some of Wall Street's financial houses.