May Day workers’ demonstrations

This video from Britain says about itself:

May Day Demo – Justice for Cleaners

Justice for Cleaners demonstration in central London – immigrant workers fight for a London Living Wage, block traffic in central London as they march from University to University – SOAS, UCL Birckbeck and LSHTM, all of which pay below the London Living wage of £7.05 per hour.

Today, there are May Day demonstrations everywhere in the world.

In Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the cleaners, who have just won a months’ long strike, will be central in the demonstration.

USA: Arizona’s immigration enforcement law has raised the ire of groups fighting for the rights of immigrant workers. Fueled by derisive comments made by the American president, Barack Obama, protestors are aiming to send a clear signal to Arizona and to the rest of the nation by organizing protests in as many as seventy cities across the nation on May 1st, also known as May Day or International Workers Day. Here are some highlights from the protests: here.

See also here.

On May 1, It’s Mayday for Arizona: here.

May Day in New Zealand: here.

Venezuela: `Up to 1 million’ celebrate May Day: here.

3 thoughts on “May Day workers’ demonstrations

  1. 25,000 on May Day at Union Square demand:
    ‘Legalization & jobs for all workers!

    See People’s Video Network footage of the march at:

    May Day at Union Square was a stunning sight as thousands poured into the park to send a resounding message of repudiation against the recently passed SB1071 law in Arizona. They demanded legalization for the undocumented as well as jobs, housing, education and social services for all.

    Union Square has been the site of previous May Day rallies. This year a program of speakers and revolutionary rappers was followed by a two-mile march downtown to Federal Plaza. Their ranks grew along the way as they chanted “Boycott Arizona!” and “Si se puede!” (Yes, we can!).

    People of all nationalities who crowded the sidewalks of lower Broadway were clearly friendly to the march. As they read the signs and heard the chants, some joined in while others gave peace signs and thumbs up.

    When the last of the huge crowd was finally able to squeeze into Federal Plaza after 5 p.m. for a second rally, it was possible to put a number on the demonstration: 25,000 angry but hopeful people had come out to demand legalization for all undocumented workers and their families and to denounce the bill for “immigration reform” being readied by Sen. Charles Schumer, a New York Democrat.

    This bill would make “securing the border” its top priority and would force all workers to carry a biometric identity card to prove their citizenship status to their bosses.

    Eight out of every 10 marchers appeared to represent Latin American and Caribbean communities, but there were also significant contingents of Filipinos, South Asians, Africans and Pacific islanders.

    In addition, African Americans, who were well represented among the speakers, emphasized the great importance of Black-Brown unity against racism and discrimination.

    This was the fifth May Day action to be called by the May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights (, which formed in New York after the tremendous movement of immigrant workers across the country began in the spring of 2006. Demonstrations and what amounted to a general strike on May 1, 2006, had tied up whole cities, especially in the West and Southwest, in opposition to the reactionary Sensenbrenner bill.

    Several speakers at this year’s May Day demonstration represented workers in large unions — Charles Jenkins of the Transport Workers, Clarence Thomas of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Mike Gimbel of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Brenda Stokely of the Million Worker March Movement co-chaired the rally. They all challenged the labor movement as a whole to take a clear stand supporting immigrant rights.

    At the Union Square rally several well-known Hip-hop artists, including Rebel Diaz, rapped in defiance of repressive authority. Their cultural performances in English and Spanish, interspersed with a broad collection of speakers, added both emotion and revolutionary politics to the program.

    Large contingents came from the Bronx, Queens and Washington Heights in upper Manhattan. Day laborers, whose right to work is under serious threat, came in buses and vans from Long Island and New Jersey. Organizations that mobilized included Vamos Unidos, Desis Rising Up and Moving, Committee to Support the Struggle of the Haitian People, Filipinas for Rights and Empowerment and several Ecuadorean groups. A spirited Puerto Rican and Honduran delegation moved the crowd.

    Vicky Palaez, a popular columnist from El Diario/La Prensa, addressed the crowd amid many cheers. A young Mexican girl bravely spoke of how her father had been torn away from his family.

    Teresa Gutierrez, a spokesperson for the May 1 Coalition for Immigrant Rights — the group that initiated the call for May Day in Union Square the last five years — said, “Arizona is the home base of arch-racist Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others who falsely blame all problems of U.S. society on immigrants. These reactionaries thought they could get away with passing this repressive Arizona law, which is a threat to all immigrants, an insult to every Latino and Latina person, an assault on every person of color and an attack on all workers.

    “This law has boomeranged on the racists. It ignited opposition nationally. It has aroused a new movement with a combative spirit that we all saw not only in Union Square today but also in Los Angeles, in Tucson and Phoenix in Arizona, in Texas and Chicago and in 80 cities around the United States.”

    Immigrant rights activist Isabel Garcia in Tucson, Ariz., spoke to the second rally by telephone. Cheers went up as she reported that thousands had demonstrated there, too, despite the terror tactics of Homeland Security and its immigration arm, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

    The protest also stressed that the overall economic crisis now devastating the working class is what is driving right-wing politicians and government repression. Many speakers pointed out how the bosses and their political lackeys are fueling a hate campaign in order to prevent workers from uniting and fighting for jobs, housing, health care and education.

    Larry Holmes of the Bail Out the People Movement, which helped build the May Day protest, spoke about doing everything possible to respond to the racist attack in Arizona, including exploring an action on June 19, an important date in the struggle against slavery known also as “Juneteenth.” Holmes also urged those present to be in Washington on May 8 for a march for a WPA-type jobs program.

    Bernadette Ellorin of the Filipino organization BAYAN-USA and a co-coordinator of the May 1 Coalition, closed the Federal Plaza rally by saying that “the solution for the anti-immigrant, anti-worker climate is for all of us to build the broadest anti-imperialist working class movement in the very belly of the beast.”

    Toward the evening, news arrived from Jackson Heights, Queens that police had harassed and arrested two women who were undocumented street vendors. Commenting on the arrests, Teresa Gutierrez said: “This shows that it is not just enough to repudiate the Arizona legislation. Mayor Bloomberg has even done that at the same time that the police carry out terror against day laborers and street vendors in New York. This is why the May Day marches around the country were so important, as it shows the movement is not going away but is building.”

    Bail Out the People Movement
    Solidarity Center
    55 W. 17th St. #5C
    New York, NY 10011


  2. (Below is also the statement of the International Migrants Alliance)

    (From The New York Times)

    August 29, 2010
    Massacre in Tamaulipas
    The full story of the massacre in Tamaulipas, in northeast Mexico, awaits telling by its one survivor. The early news accounts are horrifying: 72 people, said to be migrants from Central and South America on their way to the United States, are waylaid and imprisoned by drug smugglers on a ranch 100 miles south of Texas. They refuse to pay extortion fees and are executed. The survivor, shot in the neck, hears their screams for mercy as he flees. After a gun battle with the authorities, the killers escape in S.U.V.?s. The dead, 58 men and 14 women, are found piled in a room, discarded contraband.

    The temptation may be to write this atrocity off as another ugly footnote in Mexico?s vicious drug war. But such things do not exist in isolation. Mexico?s drug cartels are nourished from outside, by American cash, heavy weapons and addiction; the northward pull of immigrants is fueled by our demand for low-wage labor.

    Drug cartels, opportunistic capitalists, have leaped into the business of smuggling people. Illegal immigrants, known as pollos, or chickens, are in some ways better than cocaine bricks because they can be forced to pay ransom and be drug mules.

    The American response to Mexico?s agonies has mostly been a heightened fixation on militarizing the border ? most recently, a $600 million bill offered by Senator Charles Schumer, Democrat of New York, and signed by President Obama. Enforcement without any overhaul of legal migration creates only the illusion of control. Without a system tied to labor demand, illegality, disorder and death proliferate.

    Current temporary-worker programs are so cumbersome and bureaucratic they are almost unusable by employers. Unable to enter legally, and locked out of Texas and California by stringent border security, immigrants skirt the fence ever farther into the remote Arizona desert. Illegal crossings are down in the bad economy, but deaths this brutal summer are up. The pull of opportunity still beckons.

    We have delegated to drug lords the job of managing our immigrant supply, just as they manage our supply of narcotics. The results are clear.

    August 25, 2010
    Victims of Massacre in Mexico Said to Be Migrants
    MEXICO CITY ? The bullet-pocked bodies of 72 people, believed to be migrants heading to the United States who resisted demands for money, have been found in a large room on a ranch in an area of northeast Mexico with surging violence, the authorities said Wednesday.
    Initial reports after the victims were found Tuesday suggested that the mass of bodies was the largest of several dumping grounds, often with dozens of dead, discovered in recent months and attributed to the violence of the drug business.

    But if the victims, found after a raid on a ranch in Tamaulipas State by Mexican naval units, are confirmed as migrants, their killings would provide a sharp reminder of the violence in human smuggling as well.

    It was not clear if the victims, from Central and South America, were shot all at once. The police were relying on a harrowing but sketchy account from a wounded survivor, published by the newspaper Reforma and confirmed by government officials, who said several people were killed in short order after the migrants refused to pay or cooperate with the gunmen.

    A law enforcement official said all were found in a large room, some sitting, some piled atop one another.

    Alejandro Poiré, the government?s spokesman for security issues, said that though the investigation was just beginning, the killings seemed to be an outgrowth of pressure on drug gangs by a government crackdown.

    ?This act confirms that criminal organizations are looking to kidnapping and extortion because they are going through a difficult time obtaining resources and recruiting people willingly,? Mr. Poiré told reporters here.

    United States law enforcement officials have warned that drug trafficking groups have increasingly moved into the lucrative business of human smuggling, extorting fees from migrants for safe passage across the border and sometimes forcing them to carry bundles of drugs. Smugglers are also known to rob, kidnap and sometimes kill migrants on both sides of the border.

    The unidentified survivor, an Ecuadorean traveling with people from Ecuador, Brazil, Honduras and El Salvador, told investigators that the migrants had entered Mexico from the south and that they were making their way to Texas when they were confronted by the gunmen in San Fernando, about 100 miles south of Brownsville, Tex.

    In a statement to the police, he said the leaders of the armed group had tried to extort fees from them and, when the migrants resisted, ordered their gunmen to open fire.

    Wounded in the neck by the gunfire, the survivor heard screams and pleas for mercy. Once the men retreated, the witness said, he ran from the ranch where they were being held Monday and found a military checkpoint.

    The military units reached the ranch on Tuesday and engaged in a firefight in which one marine and three suspects were killed. One Mexican, a minor, was taken into custody.
    The authorities said 58 men and 14 women had been killed in the room by the gunmen. It was unclear how long they had been dead or detained.

    The discovery of the bodies was the largest of at least three such finds this year. In May, 55 bodies were pulled from an abandoned mine south of Mexico City, and in July, 51 bodies were discovered in a field near Monterrey, an industrial and commercial hub in northeast Mexico that had been relatively quiet until this year.

    A shootout last week in Monterrey outside the American School Foundation, a private school popular with American expatriates and Mexican business executives, prompted the United States Consulate to advise families to keep their children home pending an assessment of security at the school.

    More than 28,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence since President Felipe Calderón began a crackdown on organized crime in 2006.

    In a meeting with mayors on Wednesday, Mr. Calderón said, ?We?re in the middle of a criminal spiral that we have to cut.?

    ?I don?t know of any crime that isn?t organized,? Mr. Calderón said. ?They are all very organized, and much more than the police.?

    Antonio Betancourt contributed reporting.

    Justice for the 72 Murdered Migrants in Mexico!

    Statement of the International Migrants Alliance on the August 24, 2010 Massacre of 72 Undocumented Migrants in Tamaulipas, Mexico

    August 31, 2010

    The International Migrants Alliance condemns in the strongest possible terms the massacre of 72 undocumented migrants in Mexico last August 24, 2010.

    We demand that justice should be given to them with the perpetrators prosecuted and punished.

    Found with hands bound behind their backs and shot in the head in the Gulf coast state of Tamaulipas, these 72 migrants from Honduras, Ecuador, El Salvador and Brazil were rounded up, intimidated and being extorted from by drug traffickers before they were all summarily executed.

    The fate of the 72 undocumented migrants, 14 of whom were women, is just one of the many cases of abuses committed against migrants, especially the undocumented. Already, the National Human Rights Commission of the Mexican Government has reportedly received 10,000 cases of migrant kidnappings in the first half of 2010 in Mexico.

    Despite these reports, not a single case has been resolved by the Mexican government as thousands of migrants are subjected to physical and sexual abuse, torture, trafficking and prostitution, harassment and intimidation, and enforced disappearance. Until now, not a single case has been resolved as the Mexican police, military and some government officials are allegedly involved in many of these cases.

    This epidemic of abuse and violence that the migrants are subjected to is brought about and further aggravated by the Mexican government?s policy to criminalize the undocumented migrants in the name of national security and campaign against drug trafficking.

    The migrants? ordeal does not stop even if they have gone past the highly-militarized US-Mexico border. The U.S. government?s campaign to criminalize and crack down on undocumented migrants is as rabid if not more vicious than that of the Mexico government?s.

    We cannot help but ask: is this how the Mexican government paves the way for the 4th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) happening in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico this November? Is this how the Mexican government and the GFMD aim to address the growing international call to stop criminalization of undocumented migrants? The GFMD has proven in its past three assemblies to be a forum that is detrimental to the interests of migrants. It and its policies should be exposed and opposed at all times.

    What happened to the 72 undocumented migrants should not happen again.

    The IMA demands the Mexican government to uphold justice for the 72 victims by launching an immediate and thorough investigation of this gruesome crime and punishing the main culprits. We likewise call on the governments of Honduras, Ecuador, El Salvador and Brazil in not only closely monitoring the investigation but help in resolving the case. All these governments should likewise compensate the families of the victims.

    We also call on the Mexican government to renege on its oppressive anti-migrant campaign and instead institute programs that will concretely resolve the urgent issues of migrants in the country.

    As we demand to answer the root causes of why these migrants are forced to leave their families and home countries, the criminalization and crackdown of undocumented migrants should be immediately stopped.


    Eni Lestari, chairperson (852-9608-1475)


  3. Pingback: May Day in Europe and Asia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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