Protesters in the United States and around the world have marked International Workers Day, May Day, with rallies and demonstrations that turned violent in displays of anger against authoritarianism and right-wing politics from France to Turkey.

WATCH: Luis Ramirez video report on protests


May Day is traditionally a day of protest, and this one was no exception. Police fired tear gas on demonstrators rallying in Istanbul’s Taksim Square, the scene of past bloody May Day crackdowns.  


Tensions in Turkey have been high after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan narrowly won a referendum last month giving him sweeping new powers.


Police arrested more than 200 people Monday.

Moscow parade

Things were more jovial in Russia, on what turned out to be beautiful spring day with more than 100,000 marching in Moscow.

 “This shows people’s unity when so many people gather. This is the day of labor, peace and the weather is so beautiful. And we can see the people’s feelings by the smiles on their faces,” said Yuri, a march participant in Moscow.

The spirit was in sharp contrast to Saturday, when thousands of Russians lined up to present their grievances in letters at government offices. Organizers of the mass protest said police arrested demonstrators in cities across Russia, including 120 people in St. Petersburg.  


French election campaigning

France, which is still under a state of emergency and with elections less than a week away, was on high alert. The government deployed 9,000 police in various parts of the country to keep supporters of the two main candidates, centrist Emmanuel Macron and nationalist Marine Le Pen, apart.

 Le Pen, who wants to curb immigration by Muslims, get France out of the EU, and bring back jobs for French factory workers, led a rally outside Paris, where she called Macron “the candidate of the caviar Left.”  


Macron also campaigned Monday, but his supporters were generally not visible among the May Day demonstrators.   


Thousands, including labor union activists, marched in central Paris, many of them protesting Le Pen.

“We have to block Marine Le Pen, we all agree about that, and we have to do it while stopping further increases in the vote and percentage of Marine Le Pen which would cost us in the future,” said Jean-Claude Mailly, leader of Force Ouvrière, one of France’s main labor union conglomerations.

Demonstrators in Paris threw firebombs and clashed with police.


With elections so near and the issues so divisive, the battle lines could not be clearer on this day of protest.

In the U.S., May Day’s rallying point has shifted from workers to immigrants.  Tens of thousands of people are expected to mark the day from New York to Los Angeles to protest against President Donald Trump’s focus on boosting deportations.  Organizations have called for immigrant strikes in some cities to show Americans what a day without immigrants would look like.  


leave a reply: