May Day protests around the world

Stuart Lawrence stuartwl at
Tue May 1 20:36:50 MDT 2001

Here in New York the Mobilization for Workers Rights rallied in Union Square and
marched to sites where grocery workers are struggling to organize and to the the
IMF office. About 300-400 marchers were surrounded at all times by a nearly
equal number of police, including various upper-level commanders and guys in
suits. Determined to show who is in charge in Giuliani's New York, the cops at
one point suddenly descended on the peaceful demonstration to arrest several
street-theater performers wearing masks as part of their costumes and at least
one Radical Cheerleader. The NYPD's tactic of choice is to show that the left is
outnumbered and surrounded by the police, and to perioically unleash a show of
arbitrary force to keep us on edge.


May Day Protesters Clash With Police


Filed at 10:27 a.m. ET

LONDON, May 1 (Reuters) - German police turned water cannon on leftists
in May Day street battles on Tuesday and clashes erupted in London as
thousands of anti-capitalist demonstrators paralyzed one of the city's
main shopping districts.

Bottles flew and fireworks exploded in London's Oxford Street, prompting
police to use batons against the protesters.

Berlin police arrested 40 people after being pelted by bottles and
stones in what has become an annual ritual of May Day street clashes in
the city.

Over 6,000 leftists and anarchists set fire to barricades overnight in
two eastern Berlin suburbs and police said several officers had been
injured in the scuffles.

Leftists also barricaded streets in the northern city of Hamburg,
damaging cars and setting off fireworks. Police said one person was
arrested and 31 were temporarily detained.

However, a march by neo-Nazi skinheads in Berlin, which leftists had
vowed to disrupt after their traditional left-wing parade was banned,
proceeded without serious incident.

In Britain, police had deployed in force across London to face an
estimated 10,000 activists, vowing to prevent a re-run of the violence
that erupted in the city a year ago.

More than 500 cyclists blocked rush-hour traffic and stopped briefly
outside the U.S. embassy to stage a noisy protest. By mid-afternoon, 18
people had been arrested.

Three thousand protesters then gathered in Oxford Street, one of the
capital's main shopping districts, where they faced riot police and
officers on horseback in the pouring rain.

Unlike many European capitals where May Day is a public holiday, the
date is a normal working day in Britain.


``We do have good intelligence from our officers which suggests there is
a hard core of people that are intent on causing violence and criminal
damage,'' said London assistant police commissioner Michael Todd.

``We are not going to allow that to happen.''

In Russia, tens of thousands of people marched to demand better pay and
more jobs. Some sought better workers' rights, others a return to the
certainties of their communist past.

Russian news agencies quoted police as saying more than 300,000 people
had attended some 480 marches without incident in the world's largest
country stretching over 11 time zones.

In Zurich, dozens of protesters threw stones, bottles and paint bombs at
police, who
responded with water cannon, teargas and rubber shotgun pellets. Police
spokesman said around 40 people had been detained.

In South Korea about 20,000 workers faced 15,000 riot police in Seoul to
protest against government economic restructuring and a harsh police
crackdown on car workers in April.

In Taiwan, thousands of unemployed workers and union activists marched
through Taipei, demanding jobs and the resignation of top government

In Australia, demonstrators sought to shut down stock exchanges in
Sydney and Melbourne and scuffled with police.

Protesters blocked streets in financial districts and, joined by trade
unionists, marched on state parliaments in Sydney and Melbourne. Dozens
of people were detained.

The protests against economic globalisation follow violent street action
against the World Trade Organisation meeting in Seattle in 1999, and at
summits in Prague last year and Quebec City last month.

Protesters complain that multi-national corporations wield too much
power over people's lives, even to the point of coercing
democratically-elected governments.


Russian news agency Interfax said more than 50,000 people took part in
May Day rallies across Siberia and the Far East.

It said they were demanding higher wages, better working conditions,
improved pensions, price controls and abolition of a single social tax
introduced at the beginning of the year.

Marchers carried banners proclaiming ``We need a second Stalin'' and
``No to the
anti-national policy of the government.''

Thousands of Iranian workers marched to the parliament to protest
against high
unemployment and to demanding tougher action against illegal foreign

In Zimbabwe, thousands of workers gathered for a May Day rally seen as a
test of the government's ability to win key labour votes ahead of
presidential polls expected next year.

In Hong Kong, hundreds of workers staged protests against high

In Greece, flights were curtailed and shipping and rail services
disrupted when public
transport workers joined in May Day protests against government plans
for pension changes.

A scuffle broke out in the northern Italian city of Turin after a small
group of activists backing centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi tried
to join a leftist May Day rally.

Some 5,000 mostly elderly supporters of Bulgaria's main opposition
Socialist Party marched in central Sofia to protest against poverty,
rising crime and corruption.

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