There has been massive protest all around the world in several countries on May Day, first May 2019. The tradition of workers marching on May Day began in the United States of America in the 1880s which quickly spread to other parts of the world. This year’s protest has been characterized by unfair treatment by employees, discrimination of temporary and foreign workers, maternity leave, and the issue of minimum wage, increment in salaries, better working conditions and any more.
Countries where these demonstrations took place today include Italy, France, Sri Lanka, Korea, Turkey, South Africa, Philippines, Japan, Spain, Greece, Sweden, Denmark, Russia etc. in Italy for instance, there has been protest over high speed train which later resulted in two protesters and a police officer injured in the city of Turin when the police blocked protesters for protesting for the construction of a high speed train.
People in France, Paris to be precise are seen throwing stones and also set up fires across the street to block roads and to smash vehicles as people gather to mark May Day. The police have no option than to use tear gas to try to disperse the crowd. Some protestors have been injured and about one hundred and seventy arrests have been made. The “yellow vest” protest which started in France for some months now has also joined the current May Day protest.
Turkish police has also detained some demonstrators for allegedly trying to march towards the Istanbul main square which has been prohibited for public entrance based on security reasons. The square has held a very symbolic value for Turkey’s labor movement since 1977 when a rally was organized on May Day and 34 lives were lost.
Some workers in Spain marched in its major cities to make their voices heard days before acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez starts negotiating with other parties to form a new government. Leading labor unions are pressing Sánchez to roll back business-friendly labor and fiscal reforms that have remained in place since the conservatives were in charge.
Meanwhile in South Africa, the current main opposition party EFF headed by Julius Sello Malema, the founder used May Day to rally voters a week before the country’s national election. Economic Freedom Fighters members, in their normal red shirts, gathered at a stadium in Johannesburg to cheer populist stances that have put pressure on the ruling African National Congress to address topics like economic inequality and land reform.
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