Rallies and Violence Mark May Day Around the World In Effort to Fight for Workers’ Rights

Demonstrators with a laundry list of grievances rallied here, teachers picketed in Philadelphia and police in Paris fired tear gas to disperse angry political protesters Monday as May Day was marked with events around the world.

May Day, also known as International Worker’s Day, annually prompts rallies highlighting workers’ rights. In the U.S., hundreds of thousands of demonstrators across the nation were expected to turn out, many protesting the policies of President Trump.

In New York, chants of “Sí se puede” and “the people united will never be defeated” bellowed through Union Square Park. Demonstrators came from across the nation to protest a variety of issues ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement and refugees, to climate change and the Puerto Rico debt crisis.

“We’re seeing a consistent awakening of people to the realities of the Trump administration,” Bernadette Ellorin, 40, one of the event’s organizers, told USA TODAY. She said Trump supporters and the mainstream media think of such efforts as “small and ineffective.”

“If you study history it is these type of actions, the people marching on the streets, that actually make history,” she said. “So this is our contribution toward making history, toward making change.”

In Philadelphia, the focus was more local for teachers who shut down a busy section of North Broad Street to protest the lack of a contract. About 1,000 of them skipped school, many taking personal time to highlight what they view as unfair working conditions, philly.com reported.

In France, scores of hooded youths threw firebombs at security forces as the country’s main unions drew a massive turnout for a “day of mobilization” against far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, the Associated Press reported. Le Pen faces a runoff election Sunday against centrist Emmanuel Macron

In Russia, about 1.5 million people rallied in Moscow “but public order has not been violated,” a city police spokesman told the state-run TASS news agency.

In Greece, thousands rallied in Athens against austerity measures that have increased working hours, cut salaries and weakened protections for workers. Speakers called for a general strike May 17.

“We are still fighting for eight-hour shifts, we are still fighting for permanent positions,” marcher Christos Zarkinos told Anadolu Agency news service.

In the U.S., protesters were planning marches for issues ranging from immigrants’ rights to LGBT awareness to police misconduct.

“There’s a real galvanization of all the groups this year,” said Fernanda Durand of CASA in Action, which will lead a march of about 10,000 people for immigrants’ rights through downtown Washington. “Our presence in this country is being questioned by Donald Trump. We are tired of being demonized and scapegoated. We’ve had enough.”

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Source: USA Today |