Thousands of trade union members and activists around the world marked May Day on Wednesday by marching in major cities, demanding better working conditions and expanding labour rights.
French protesters and police clashed briefly in Paris as thousands gathered for a march under tight security measures. Police used some tear gas to control a crowd near Paris’s Montparnasse train station.
Associated Press reporters observed groups of hooded people in black shouting anti-police slogans, mixing with other protesters wearing yellow vests or waving union flags.
French authorities warned “radical activists” may join the Paris demonstration and renew scenes of violence that marked previous yellow vest protests and May Day demonstrations over the past two years.
More than 7,400 police have been deployed in Paris.
Manifestation du 1er mai à Paris: 7400 policiers et gendarmes mobilisés. Les autorités craignent des violences. Déjà quelques accrochages. <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/manif1ermai?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#manif1ermai</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/RadioCanadaInfo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@RadioCanadaInfo</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/1erMai2019?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#1erMai2019</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Paris?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Paris</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/France?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#France</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/GiletsJaunes?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#GiletsJaunes</a> <a href=”https://t.co/Itv4Y13H7L”>pic.twitter.com/Itv4Y13H7L</a>
Yellow vests have joined traditional May Day union march to show their common rejection of French President Emmanuel Macron’s economic policies.
In Russia, activists said more than a dozen people were detained in St. Petersburg for participating in an unsanctioned political protest. Most of them are supporters of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
Some of the activists were carrying placards saying, “Putin is not immortal” in reference to President Vladimir Putin who has been at the helm of the country since 2000.
In Moscow, authorities said about 100,000 people are taking part in a rally organized by Kremlin-friendly trade unions in Red Square. Over the years, May Day in Russia has transformed from the occasion for rallies for workers’ rights to an official event carefully orchestrated by Kremlin-controlled groups.
Spain’s workers marched to make their voices heard days before acting Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez starts negotiating with other parties to form a new government.
Spain’s leading unions are pressing for Sanchez to roll back business-friendly labour and fiscal reforms that have remained in place since the previous conservative administration.
Sanchez’s Socialist party won Sunday’s election, but will still need other parties to form a government and pass laws. Sanchez will meet with the leaders of the three other top vote-getters next week.
Rallies across Asia
A major South Korean umbrella trade union issued a joint statement with a North Korean workers’ organization calling for the Koreas to push ahead with engagement commitments made during a series of inter-Korean summits last year. Many of the plans agreed to between the Koreas, including joint economic projects, have been held back by a lack of progress in nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang.
Wearing headbands and swinging their fists, the protesters in Seoul rallied in streets near City Hall, marching under banners denouncing deteriorating working conditions and calling for equal treatment and pay for non-regular workers.
May Day rallies were also being held in other parts of Asia, including the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Cambodia and Myanmar.
In the Philippines, thousands of workers and labour activists marched near the Malacanang presidential palace in Manila. They demanded that the government of President Rodrigo Duterte address labour issues including a minimum wage increase and the end of contractualization for many workers.
Police said about 5,000 people joined the march, which comes just over a week before senatorial elections are held in the country. One labour group said its members would not vote for any candidate endorsed by Duterte and burned an effigy of Duterte.
In Sri Lanka, major political parties called off traditional May Day rallies due to security concerns following the Easter bombings that killed 253 people and were claimed by militants linked to ISIS.
Several thousand workers were marching through the streets of Taiwan’s capital city Taipei to demand better working conditions. They carried banners and flags and chanted for more days off and higher overtime pay.
Many wore baseball caps and colourful clear plastic ponchos over their clothes, though a light rain ended as the march got underway. Taiwan’s official Central News Agency said 6,000 people joined the march.
This story originally appeared on CBC