It’s about workers rights, and workers uniting. It’s May Day today. Violent clashes are being reported in Turkey, Germany, France and Italy.
In many regions of the world, May Day parades and protests have been generally peaceful, with tens of thousands people having taken to the streets for both spring festivities and rallies in support of broader workers’ rights. In Moscow, some 100,000 people gathered in the Russian capital’s Red Square for a cheerful parade.
In Vienna, Chancellor Werner Faymann addressed less friendly crowds, with some 80,000 people gathered in the capital of Austria, where the government is currently losing to far-right movement in the first round of presidential election. Tens of thousands of workers also protested in South Korea, expressing displeasure with planned labor reforms.
German police used water cannon against protesters in the city of Plauen in Saxony. Around 500 right-wingers and some 1,500 left-wing protesters took to the streets of the eastern German city, RT’s sister video agency Ruptly reported. While the right-wing group named “The Third Way” marched in the city, counter-protests of left-wingers also gathered, which resulted in clashes between opposing demonstrators.
In the French capital, May Day celebrations coincided with nationwide escalating protests by trade unions and students taking a stand against labor reforms proposed by the French government and set to come before parliament next week. Sporadic clashes with police were reported on the streets of Paris. Riot police resorted to tear gas as groups of troublemakers in masks reportedly aimed to confront security forces. Three young people were detained, Reuters reported. Having called attacks and violence against law enforcement “unacceptable,” the country’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls said on Sunday that authorities would “respond with the greatest of determination to these troublemakers,” as cited by AFP.
In Italy police also had to interfere when far-left protesters in Turin, in northern part of the country, staged a counter-demonstration to oppose supporters of the ruling Democratic Party (PD), who had gathered in the city. The protesters lit flares and held banners denouncing the PD leader and Prime Minister of Italy Matteo Renzi. Clashes broke out between security forces and far-left activists who attempted to confront PD supporters. Police responded by charging at the protesters in order to separate the two groups.
Labor Day protests in Turkey resulted in at least one death, with one man being killed in an incident in Istanbul. He was run over by a police water cannon vehicle, as the riot police presence was huge on the streets of Turkey’s largest city. Some 25,000 officers were on duty, AFP reported, with central Taksim Square having been cordoned off. To prevent people from joining the protests’ hotspot, police fired tear gas and water cannon. Over 200 people were detained, the agency reported citing the Istanbul governor’s office. Dozens of Molotov cocktails, hand grenades and fireworks were reportedly seized from protesters.