May Day and the USA

This video from the USA says about itself:

The May Day History The Government Doesn’t Want You To Know

5 May 2018

Workers bled and died for rights that are now being taken away.

“Seventy years of attacks on the right to unionize have left the union movement representing only 10 percent of workers.
The investor class has concentrated its power and uses its power in an abusive way, not only against unions but also to create economic insecurity for workers.

At the same time, workers, both union and nonunion, are mobilizing more aggressively and protesting a wide range of economic, racial and environmental issues.

On this May Day, we reflect on the history of worker power and present lessons from our past to build power for the future.

In most of the world, May Day is a day for workers to unite, but May Day is not recognized in the United States even though it originated here. On May 1, 1886, more than 300,000 workers in 13,000 businesses across the US walked off their jobs for the first May Day in history. It began in 1884, when the Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions proclaimed at their convention that workers themselves would institute the 8-hour day on May 1, 1886. In 1885 they called for protests and strikes to create the 8-hour work day. May Day was part of a revolt against abusive working conditions that caused deaths of workers, poverty wages, poor working conditions and long hours.”

Read more here.

MAY DAY marches and rallies took place across Britain on Saturday and more celebrations are planned for today’s bank holiday: here.

Scotland: Trade unionist ‘Red Bloc’ forms the core of Glasgow’s May Day parade: here.

May Day in many countries

This 1 May 2018 video says about itself:

May Day: Workers of India Unite

On the occasion of International Workers’ Day we present you snippets of various trade unionists & workers from across the country speaking about working class struggles & resistance.

This 1 May 2018 video from Ghana says about itself:

May Day 2018 celebrations in Accra

The Independence Square was lively with excitement as workers from both public and private companies gathered to commemorate the 2018 May Day celebrations.

This 1 May 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

A glimpse at the May Day march through Seattle.

Britain: MORE than 5,000 trade unionists, workers, students and youth marched from Clerkenwell Green to Trafalgar Square on the London May Day March yesterday afternoon. There were trade union banners from the South East Region of the TUC, ASLEF, PCS, Unite, RMT, POA, and other trade union flags: here.

Millions of people around the world participated in protest marches and strikes yesterday to mark the holiday that celebrates the history, struggles and demands of the international working class. The tone and mood of the protests reflected the growing radicalization of the masses internationally, amid broad popular anger over social inequality and imperialist war: here.

This sign in Paris invokes the upheavals of May-June 1968

This sign in Paris, France invokes the upheavals of May-June 1968.

Thousands of students and workers marched on the capital of Puerto Rico on May Day to protest brutal austerity measures, widespread public school closures, pro-corporate labor reforms and other right-wing government policies. Despite reports of largely peaceful demonstrations, the protesters were viciously attacked by police with tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and night sticks. Scores of people were injured: here.

This video is about the May Day demonstration in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Mass May Day protests in Costa Rica ahead of inauguration of right-wing government: here.

Big May Day march in London, England

A May Day rally passes through London today

By Ceren Sagir in London, England:

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Britain turns out for International Workers’ rallies

THOUSANDS of people gathered in central London today to celebrate the victories of workers and to call attention to working rights still to be won.

Marchers marked International Workers’ Day gathering at Clerkenwell Green by the Marx Memorial Library and heading to Trafalgar Square for a rally.

Demonstrators chanted for international peace as well as better pay and conditions at work. Many expressed anger at the Tory government’s racist treatment of British citizens who arrived on the Empire Windrush after the second world war, the scandal that forced the resignation of home secretary Amber Rudd on Sunday.

London 2018 May Day march

Trade unionist and founder of Black Activists Rising Against the Cuts Zita Holbourne said: “Windrush is something that makes me very angry. The immigration policies were put in place by the government when Prime Minister Theresa May was the home secretary.

“It is the most racist piece of legislation I have seen in my lifetime.

“It is not amnesty that the Windrush generation require. They are already British citizens, they were recruited to come and work here. None of those people are illegal.”

Ms Holbourne reminded the crowd that there had been no definitive response from the Home Office about the cancellation of the charter flight to Jamaica taking place this week.

She said: “We have to also think about the people who have already been deported and the destitution they are in. They have lost their homes and their jobs.

“We need to stand up for workers’ rights and we need to stand up for justice for all.”

London 2018 May Day demonstrators

Transport union RMT general secretary Mick Cash called for solidarity with McDonald’s workers taking strike action today and talked about his own union’s battle against the rail operators’ drive to strip away safety-critical staff. “It has been three years of our fight to keep guards on trains”, he said. “This dispute is about making sure they do not place profit before safety.

“If the government have their way, there will be millions of guard-less trains running, making it less safe and less accessible.

“We are not giving up and will fight till the last person to keep railways safe.

“We need a railway for the benefit of the country and passengers and not for the spivs and profiteers.

Mr Cash said the way to do this was to renationalise the railways, as the Labour Party intends to: “If other nations can run our railways, so can we. Bring it back to public ownership.

“We need a party for the many, not the few.”

British film-maker Mehmet Aksoy, who was killed in September while filming in Raqqa, Syria, was also commemorated as a lifelong workers’ rights activist. Mr Aksoy had spoken many times at Trafalgar Square May Day rallies.

Chagos islanders at 2018 London May Day demonstration, Chagos Islanders with their banner demanding reparations from the government for the stealing of their homeland

Report of 2018 London May Day demonstration: here.

British McDonald’s workers strike on May Day

Striking McDonald's workers and supporters in England. Photo: Neil Terry Photography

By Marcus Barnett in England, 1 May 2018 :

McStrikers May Day action met with huge solidarity

MCDONALD’S workers were met with huge waves of solidarity on International Workers Day … as they walked out over zero-hours contracts and poor working conditions.

Workers at the fast food giant’s branches in Manchester and Watford joined their colleagues in Crayford and Cambridge in demanding a £10-an-hour living wage, fixed contracts, dignity at work and union recognition.

In Watford, home town of McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook, more than 100 people turned out to support the strikers from various different branches, while more than 50 people joined the picket in Manchester.

Speaking on behalf of the strikers was Ali, a striker from Manchester who heralded the “determination” of his colleagues.

He said: “McDonald’s don’t respect us as workers. They don’t respect us as people.

“But we are showing our strength here. If we carry on, we will win and we will continue to fight to live the life we deserve.”

Joining the pickets was Labour MP Laura Pidcock, who was once a McDonald’s employee.

She told the workers that she understood what it was like to work in this environment and saluted the pickets for their “extraordinary act of bravery” in taking on one of the world’s largest corporations.

McDonald’s announced on Monday that it was creating 1,000 new managers’ jobs across Britain following its “excellent” start to the year.

It said it needed more managers over the coming months as it continued to refurbish its restaurants, upgrade kitchens and press ahead with new technology such as self-order screens.

The firm announced a 5.5 per cent increase in global sales for the first quarter of 2018, with a 0.8 per cent rise in the number of customers.

Young Labour’s national ordinary members representative Joe Bradley told the Star that, as a former McDonald’s worker, it was an inspiration to see them saying “enough is enough.”

He said: “I know from personal experience that McDonald’s take advantage of young workers, so it is incredible to see such large picket lines in defence of people who want decent wages and good contracts.”

McDonald’s employees organised by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers Union made waves in September with the first wave of strikes in British branches of the burger empire.

Since then, the dispute has only spread, with large numbers of fast food and restaurant workers joining trade unions and sparking disputes such as the ongoing confrontation between workers and management at TGI Friday’s.

On hearing of the dispute, a waiter working in a nearby chain restaurant chose to go to Greggs instead of crossing the picket line. He told the Star: “If my managers keep on behaving the way they are, that’ll be us next.”

In Manchester, striking worker Lauren McCourt said: “We’re walking off the job for a £10 per hour minimum wage and for the right to a union.

“We want respect at work and we’re willing to fight for it. We want this at our workplace, but, more than that, we want this for every industry in Britain.

“I work hard, but I’m still not sure I’m going to make enough to pay the rent. I’m often worried about being made homeless.

“The boss at McDonald’s earns thousands of pounds an hour while we scrape by. We’ve had enough. It takes drastic action to make the big change we’re demanding and it’s going to take all of us to achieve it.

“For my workmates and me this is huge.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has written to McDonald’s chief executive Mr Easterbrook saying the workers’ demands were “fair and reasonable” and suggesting a meeting to discuss issues such as pay and union recognition at the company.

He said: “I believe that every worker deserves what they are calling for — a real living wage of at least £10 an hour, security in work and a choice of fixed hours, the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of age, and the right to form a trade union and for that union to be recognised by the company.

“Under a Labour government, all workers will be entitled to a real living wage of at least £10 an hour, an end to zero-hour contracts, an end to the unjust youth minimum wage rate, and powers for unions to support workers who wish to form a union.

“It is not too late to address the problems your workers have raised and to secure a reputation for your company as a good employer.”

May Day all over the world today

This video from Nigeria says about itself:

ULC Celebrate 2018 May Day, Demand Increase To Minimum Wage

United Labour Congress Of Nigeria (ULC) today [1 May 2018] celebrates May Day.

This 1 May 2018 video from Paris, France says about itself:

LIVE: May Day demonstration/ 50 years since May ’68 revolt

May Day marks 50 years since the workers’ and students’ revolt that shook the French government and inspired the world.

This 1 May 2018 video says about itself:

Labor Day demonstrations and celebrations across Korea

This 1 May 2018 video says about itself:

Thousands of Greek workers marched through the centre of Athens on Tuesday – one of a series of protests marking May Day.

This Dutch language video is about the May Day march in The Hague, the Netherlands. Over 7,000 workers marched, including hundreds of striking public transport workers.

International Workers Day marked in cities around the world: here.

A May Day rally in Pamplona, Spain today

May Day today all over the world

This Indonesian video is about a May Day demonstration in Jakarta today.

This video from South Africa is called Workers Day Celebrations at the Isaac Wolfson Stadium, 1 May 2018.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

May Day is the day we mark workers’ struggles here and around the world

MAY DAY this year comes as we face continuing challenges. At home there is the fight against austerity and internationally there has been a dangerous ramping up of tensions, particularly over the Middle East.

In this increasingly globalised capitalist economy, workers have to fight to maintain what they have previously won so it is not stolen from us — like the NHS, universal education and pensions — and for what we need, such as good public housing, proper safety at work and a more equal society.

We have seen what unfettered private greed leads to with Grenfell and in the corridors of our hospitals.

On May Day we support the fight for a better world based on class justice. We want an end to the society that hands massive riches to the top fat cats while cutting our pay and social benefits.

After Brexit we have to fight for our employment and social rights. We also have to expose the continuing racist attitudes that have most recently been shown up by the treatment of the Windrush generation.

These will be to the fore at London’s May Day when it assembles today at noon on Clerkenwell Green — a historic space for the working-class movement.

It will link with the Marx Memorial Library before moving off at 1pm to Trafalgar Square for the annual rally.

There is always magnificent support on May Day from the international communities and migrant worker organisations and it is the day to reaffirm our international solidarity.

There are so many issues facing workers across the world from French rail workers fighting to preserve their rights to the wars in Syria and Yemen; the attacks on Kurdish workers; attacks on workers’ rights in Turkey; oppression of the Palestinians and the Rohingya in Myanmar; the Chagossian people and Diego Garcia; attacks on progressive forces in Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ireland and so many more.

We will be, as every year, marking current disputes being fought by workers as we march. This will include the Bectu cinema strike, the PCS disputes in the Civil Service and the start of the third year of the long battle of RMT workers on Southern trains. We have had confirmed that general secretary Mick Cash will be joining us on the platform.

We also know many of our supporters are involved in political campaigning for local council elections and the battle for progressive policies.

London May Day Organising Committee always sees May Day as related to Workers’ Memorial Day and the importance of carrying that commemoration message forward.

There is also the growth of related events being held locally to raise May Day and celebrations in major cities. London is committed to always hold its event on May 1 and exchanges greetings with capital city May Days across the world.

We also want to advance the demand to make May Day a public holiday, as it is across the world. Most European countries, for example, mark International Workers’ Day.

Where it is not marked it is usually part of right-wing governments’ attempts to suppress workers’ struggles.

Many workers in such countries will risk imprisonment or even death for marking May Day.

In Britain, the call for May Day to be a public holiday was supported across the trade union movement and was backed by the TUC in the 1970s.

The Labour government of the mid-70s, however, diluted the trade union call and sowed confusion by making the nearest Monday to May 1 a public holiday. This missed the significance of having one day when workers across the world were standing in solidarity together.

While May 1 remains a working day, it limits the ability of workers to mark this historic day which has been demanded for over 128 years in Britain.

This followed the events in Chicago and the call of the Second International to mark May Day, originally focused on the eight-hour day, which many still battle for. We have to strengthen the call to properly mark May 1 and to join all those countries across the world that do.

May Day is also when we celebrate the achievements of the working class, past battles and victories and recognising it is ordinary workers who create the wealth of the country and deliver the services to our society.

Roger Sutton is organiser of the London May Day Organising Committee.

LMDOC is supported by Glatuc, S&ERTUC/LESE, Unite London and Eastern Region, CWU London Region, PCS London and South East Region, Aslef, RMT, TSSA, NEU, MU London, Bectu/Prospect, FBU London and Southern Regions, GMB London and Southern Regions, Unison Greater London Region, the People’s Assembly, National Pensioners Convention, GLPA and other pensioners’ organisations and organisations representing Turkish, Kurdish, Chilean, Colombian, Peruvian, Portuguese, West Indian, Sri Lankan, Cypriot, Tamil, Iraqi, Iranian, Irish, Nigerian migrant workers and communities plus many other trade union and community organisations.

Thousands march to Trafalgar Square in central London, England to celebrate workers' achievements at a May Day rally in 2016

May Day: Trade unionists, activists, students and anti-austerity campaigners to march in solidarity today: here.

From the Chicago Haymarket strikes to the Rana Plaza disaster, capitalism is the common theme of oppression: here.

FRENCH trade unions will be marching against President Emmanuel Macron’s cuts and privatisation programmes today: here.

This video says about itself:

30 April 2018

A short video history of May Day – International Workers’ Day – celebrated worldwide on 1 May in remembrance of the eight anarchist workers sentenced to death in Chicago in 1886 for fighting for the 8-hour day.

International Workers Day banned in Sri Lanka

This 2015 Al Jazeera video says about itself:

Workers Of The World Unite And Fight – May Day Explained

What is May Day? Workers around the world have, for over a century, fought to ensure the bare minimum of labor rights. And May Day is just one day that commemorates their efforts. But what’s the story behind the day in the United States?

Al Jazeera is from Qatar. One should hope that May Day 2018 and other days of fighting for workers’ rights will also bring improvement for the exploited workers in Qatar.

By the Socialist Equality Party (Sri Lanka):

Oppose the Sri Lankan government’s ban on May Day celebrations

25 April 2018

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) strongly condemns the Sri Lankan government’s cancellation of May Day meetings and rallies scheduled for May 1, which amounts to an effective ban on marking the international workers’ day.

The SEP vehemently opposes the government’s decision to prevent it, as well as several trade unions and other organisations, from holding May Day events. This is a frontal attack on the democratic rights of the working class.

We call on all workers, oppressed people, youth, students and intellectuals to join the SEP in protesting against this blatant attack on a constitutional right enjoyed by the working people of Sri Lanka for more than three quarters of a century.

The SEP made the necessary payment to the Colombo Municipal Council to reserve the New Town Hall for its May 1 public meeting. The party also obtained police permission for the meeting, as required by the law. On Monday, however, the SEP received an undated letter from Acting Municipal Commissioner, Engineer L. R. L. Wickremaratne, cancelling the allocation of the Town Hall for our meeting.

Wickremaratne noted in his letter that as “the government decided to cancel May Day meetings on May 1, heeding a request by Chief Buddhist sangha (clergy),” the municipal council also decided not to allow meetings at its premises.

Other organisations that have planned May Day events on May 1 have come under similar attack. They are an alliance of 14 trade unions, including the Ceylon Bank Employees Union, Ceylon Mercantile Industrial & General Workers Union, Free Trade Zones & General Services Employees Union, Ceylon Estate Staff Union, Ceylon Teachers Union and Federation of Media Employees Trade Union, as well as the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP), United Socialist Party (USP) and Nava Sama Samaja Party (NSSP).

The government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe early this month cancelled the May Day public holiday, heeding a “request” by Buddhist chiefs not to permit working-class activities on that day because it falls on “Wesak Week”, a traditional Buddhist holy festival. Accordingly, the government arbitrarily shifted the May Day holiday to May 7.

* The SEP and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) demand that the government and other authorities rescind this effective ban on May Day, imposed by cancelling facilities for meetings and rallies on May 1.

* We warn the working class that the government’s decision to sabotage May Day is an indication of the wholesale attack being prepared by the government to tear up the democratic and social rights of the working people and youth.

The ban is an extension of the anti-democratic offensive already waged by this capitalist government through attacks on peaceful demonstrations and legitimate protest actions by students, unemployed youth and rural poor. The government also has shown its viciousness against workers’ struggles by using the military as scabs to break strikes.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government is determined to use the full force of the bourgeois state to crush the hard-won democratic rights of the working people, in order to implement the socially counter-revolutionary measures demanded by imperialist finance capital.

The government’s imposition of the Buddhist hierarchy’s so-called request to block workers’ rights to hold May Day celebrations is completely illegal and unconstitutional. The constitution says, at least in name, that all citizens and their organisations are equal before the law, while guaranteeing them freedom of expression and assembly. The government’s actions clearly discriminate against all non-Buddhists and atheists, and violate their fundamental rights.

The government’s move to bar any mobilisation of the working class and the oppressed stems from the fear that it would deepen the already festering political crisis of capitalist rule. The ruling coalition headed by Sirisena and Wickremesinghe is in tatters.

The growing opposition of the masses to the government was sharply expressed in the local council elections, held in February, where the United National Party (UNP) of Wickremesinghe and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) of Sirisena, both lost their vote base. The gains were made by the rival Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), led by former President Mahinda Rajapakse. This was not because of any popular approval of Rajapakse, who was defeated three years ago, but because of the widespread hostility toward the present administration.

On a daily basis, protest actions of different sections of workers, students, farmers and professionals, and oppressed Tamils in the north, continue to erupt, objectively challenging the whole political establishment. Most significantly, these struggles across the island coincide with an international offensive of the working class, propelled by the systemic crisis of world capitalism, affecting class relations and political stability in every country.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government is preparing to impose further ruthless attacks, dictated by the International Monetary Fund, on the social conditions of the working people. It is pushing for immediate price increases on fuel and electricity that will have a chain effect on the cost of all essentials. The government must pay foreign debts totalling $US2.9 billion this year and $4.9 billion next year, and the price will be extracted from workers and the poor.

The government is aware that these attacks will trigger waves of struggles that cannot be curbed without unleashing the full force of the military that was used in the civil war against the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. From this flows the government’s decisions to do away with all the basic democratic rights of the working people. As part of moves toward the establishment of a military police-state, the government is engaged in discussions with Facebook to establish an office in Colombo to curb social media.

Successive governments since formal independence in 1948 have resorted to anti-Tamil discrimination to divide workers along ethnic lines when the ruling class faced political crises. Such actions included abolishing plantation workers’ citizenship rights in 1948 and making Sinhala the only official language in 1956. In 1972, a coalition government led by the bourgeois SLFP, joined by the former Trotskyist Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and Stalinist Communist Party, gave the foremost place in the constitution to the Buddhist religion.

Since then systematic provocations have taken place, triggering the anti-Tamil war in 1983 that continued for nearly 30 years. Although Rajapakse militarily won the war in May 2009, communal provocations did not stop. Instead, extremist Buddhist groups, such as Bodu Bala Sena, Ravana Balakaya and Mahasohon Balakaya, have been nurtured, unleashing terror against Muslims as well as Tamils.

The UNP, SLFP and Rajapakse-led SLPP are competing with each other to win the favour of the Buddhist hierarchy, giving it substantial bribes to obtain its blessings and to receive its “advice” on how to use a religious cover for the anti-democratic and anti-social acts of the ruling capitalist class.

The May Day celebration, established by the Socialist International in 1889, is a fundamental democratic right of the international working class. The Sri Lankan working class has observed this day as a right for decades. The government’s attack has far-reaching reactionary consequences and must be defeated with all the political strength of the working people and youth.

The SEP, the Sri Lankan section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, and the IYSSE call for the strongest mobilisation of workers, poor, youth, students and members of the intelligentsia and professionals to join a public picket in front of the Colombo Fort Railway Station at 4 p.m. on Friday April 27.

The SEP insists that the government’s attack on May Day has demonstrated, once again, the unavoidable necessity for the working class to break from every faction of the capitalist class, and lead the oppressed, on the basis of an international socialist program, for the establishment of a workers’ and peasants’ government. This is the only way to defend the democratic and social rights of the working people and prevent capitalist dictatorship and the threat of a Third World War being prepared by the imperialist powers.

Workers and youth denounce Sri Lankan May Day ban: here.

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) picketed the Colombo Fort railway station last Friday afternoon against the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government’s May Day ban: here.

The Socialist Equality Party (SEP) and the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE) in Sri Lanka held a powerful May Day public meeting in Colombo on May 1. The event was held outside the New Town Hall and in defiance of a Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government ban on all May Day meetings and demonstrations: here.

International Monetary Fund demands Sri Lankan government cut fuel subsidies: here.

Ex-Sri Lankan defence secretary calls for brutal big business regime: here.

British McDonald’s workers will strike on May Day

British McDonald's workers on strike

By Marcus Barnett in Britain, Tuesday, April 17, 2018:

McDonald’s workers to strike again on May Day

Unrest at fast food giant spreads to northern England

McDONALD’S workers have overwhelmingly voted in favour of a May Day nationwide strike.

Staff organised by the Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU) voted by a majority of 95.2 per cent to strike on International Workers Day – including in Watford, the hometown of McDonald’s chief executive Steve Easterbrook.

The workers are demanding a £10-an-hour wage, choice in fixed-hour contracts, an end to unequal pay for young workers and for the formal recognition of BFAWU.

Two striking McDonald’s branches– Crayford and Cambridge – are the same branches that took historic industrial action in September 2017.

The other three stores in Manchester and Watford are newly organised.

BFAWU president Ian Hodson said: “The McStrike is on the road to victory.

“We will be supporting our members in McDonald’s as they take on the world’s second-largest employer.

“The time for change at McDonald’s is long overdue.”

On the ground, Manchester McDonald’s employee Lauren McCourt echoed Mr Hodson’s sentiment that change must come.

She said: “Zero-hour contracts mean we live in fear of losing the future hours we need to survive. If I don’t get the hours I need, how am I supposed to pay my rent?

It’s time for McDonald’s to respect its workers and give us the option of guaranteed hours.”

Watford McDonald’s worker Joshua Khan singled out Mr Easterbrook for criticism, attacking the millionaire for disregarding his hometown staff.

“He should get on his private jet and come talk to our union”, he said.

“We deserve a wage that means we can live with dignity.”

May Day demonstrations reports

This video says about itself:

London May Day Celebrations (1939)

Various shots of hundreds of people taking part in a socialist march through the streets of London. The protesters carry numerous posters with slogans such as “CHAMBERLAIN MUST GO!”

London, England, about yesterday: JOHN McDONNELL told the May Day masses yesterday that the general election is the biggest chance of a lifetime for the left. Addressing a packed Trafalgar Square on International Workers’ Day, the shadow chancellor launched a searing attack on the Tory government’s record of cuts, low pay and privatisation: here.

UP to 10,000 workers, trade unionists, students and youth marched on May Day in London from Clerkenwell Green to Trafalgar Square, carrying banners and flags: here.

MAY DAY marches throughout the EU were full of explosive class tensions reflecting the battle that workers are waging to defend their living standards and rights: here.

This video says about itself:

May Day In Paris (1946)

Parisians celebrate the 1st post-war May Day. Various shots large procession / rally: banners representing political parties and unions are carried by people or are attached to carnival floats, one person carries hammer and sickle flag.

Around 140,000 people marched yesterday in demonstrations across France for May Day, in the run-up to the second round of the presidential elections between former … Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron and neo-fascist National Front (FN) leader Marine Le Pen: here.

About Paris, France:

Witnesses reported riot police clubbing protesters who had been pressed against a wall on a tree-lined avenue.

Rioting broke out on the night of the first round of presidential elections a week ago, with anti-fascists and anarchists angry at the narrow choice presented to voters next Sunday.

The far-right National Front’s (FN) Marine Le Pen will face neoliberal Emmanuel Macron under his En Marche! (Forward!) banner.

Mr Macron served as finance minister in the Socialist party government of outgoing President Francois Hollande, which courted unpopularity by imposing an EU-dictated anti-worker labour law by decree after parliament had twice rejected it, sparking general strikes and street battles.

Ms Le Pen, who stepped down as FN leader last week in a bid to broaden her appeal, wants to ditch the euro currency and hold a referendum on EU membership so that France can reimpose border controls and deny state service to non-nationals. Unions organising Paris marches oppose Le Pen’s presidential bid — but differ on tactics.

Some have urged French workers to vote for Mr Macron but others have refused to make that call, including the left’s presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who was eliminated in the first-round vote on April 23.

Mr Melenchon says he will cast a vote against Ms Le Pen but will not instruct his supporters on how to vote. He condemned Ms Le Pen and Mr Macron as the candidates of the “extreme right” and “extreme finance.”

This video says about itself:

1 May 2017

Over six million workers took to the streets across Cuba on May Day to defend a ‘sovereign, socialist and sustainable’ nation. They expressed solidarity with Venezuela in the face of threats from the right.

By James Tweedie, about Havana, Cuba:

RAUL CASTRO led his final May Day march as president in Havana yesterday, dedicated to late leader Fidel.

Crowds gathered from 2am in the capital’s huge Jose Marti Revolution Square for the annual highlight of workers’ celebrations around the world.

Mr Castro, who has said he will step down next February, presided over the rally.

This video, by Jennifer Perez from Puerto Rico, says about itself:


May Day, the day of the international working class, saw mass marches and protests on every continent, as well as scattered strikes, as workers sought to demonstrate their opposition to the policies of right-wing governments and their solidarity with their class brothers and sisters around the world. … Puerto Rico was virtually shut down by a May Day strike against austerity measures imposed by the government of Governor Ricardo Rosselló. Demonstrators blocked roads to enforce a general strike while denouncing the US financial control board overseeing the Rosselló administration. Police fired tear gas and smoke bombs and used pepper spray.: here.

This video from the USA is called May Day protests in Los Angeles. May 1, 2017.

Tens of thousands of immigrant and native-born workers and young people marched across the United States to mark May Day, the holiday of the international working class, and oppose the Trump administrations’ scapegoating of immigrant workers: here.

May Day demonstrations today

This video from today in the USA is called Huge Crowd Gathers For San Francisco May Day Protest March.

This video is called Turkey: May Day protesters tear gassed in Istanbul, some 200 arrested.

This video says about itself:

1 May 2017

Greece: May Day rally against more austerity.

Thousands of Greek workers have marked International Labour Day by taking to the streets to protest against new looming austerity measures.

Greece needs more cash from its creditors to prop up a struggling economy.

But to get the money, it’s being asked to make more cuts worth billions of dollars.

Al Jazeera’s Rob Matheson reports.

This video is about the Dutch trade union May Day rally in Amsterdam.