May Day Rallies Around the World in 2007

5 May

As usual, the Germans celebrated May Day with protests and demonstrations in which many have been mainly peaceful except some minor violence in Berlin which resulted in the arrest of about 60 people. The umbrella main trade union, DGB labor federation has demanded an increase of minimum wage which has been rejected by the government of Merkel, the Christian Democrats.

May Day, which is a significance holiday in Russia, especially during the Soviet era due to its Marxist roots, estimated its largest rally attracted a 20,000 turnout in Moscow. The rally is organised by pro government trade unions and pro-Putin, United Russia party. The Communist Party also held a rally which was estimated to have drawn 5,000 participants. There were also similar rallies organised by the liberal Opposition who are human rights advocates and critics of Kremlin; ultranationalists who oppose immigration and preach ethnic Russian supremacy amongst other political parties.

In Asia, riot police clashed with protestors in Macau while about 2000 workers, with 60 from Northern Korea, for the first time, called for Reunification of both Korea. In Seoul, about 7,000 people protested in a university district, mainly against President Roh Moo-hyun for its US- free trade agreement.

Riot police was heavily deployed in Siem Reap, Manila and Bangkok to prevent unrests, which mostly went on peacefully. In Manila, the protesters who wanted to march to the Presidential office demanded higher wages and Arroyo’s resignation for her pro-business policies.

In Indonesia, the workers in Jakarta demanded safer working conditions, increase in basic wages and tax exemptions for low-income families.

In Japan, approximately 42,000 people participated in a rally against widening income inequality in Tokyo. Smaller rallies were organized by labor unions in 374 cities and towns across Japan.

In Italy, the nation-wide theme is to reduce workplace fatality while in Istanbul, riot police broke up a leftist rally with hundreds of arrest. As many as 580 demonstrators, found to carry arms and knives were detained according to Governor Muammer Guler.

About 4,000 Israeli young socialists participated in a May Day March in Tel Aviv while Czech police in the Moravian city of Brno dispersed one of the biggest neo-Nazi rallies in the country. In Prague, people were arrested for fights between members of right and left-wing groups on the fringes of a May Day rally.

The May Day rallies across US saw more than 200,000 people demanding an overhaul of immigration laws and greater rights for the country’s estimated 12 million illegal workers.

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