News / Europe

May Day Rallies Spotlight Global Workers' Rights Push

Tens of thousands of workers around the world have taken to the streets in May Day rallies for better pay, and better working conditions.

In Istanbul, Turkey, workers gathered Saturday to celebrate May Day in central Taksim Square for the first time in three decades.  

The site has been restricted since 1977, when unidentified gunmen opened fire on demonstrators in the square, setting off mass panic that left more than 30 people dead.

In Moscow, thousands of Communists marched with red flags and portraits of Josef  Stalin, in celebrations reminiscent of the Soviet era.  At a separate rally, opposition movement leader Garry Kasparov led a crowd of hundreds to protest against Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani marked the day by announcing a minimum wage increase of $12 a month, up to $83 a month.

Mr. Gilani said the new policy will benefit about 50 million workers.

Cities in the United States are expecting May Day protests against a tough new immigration law in the southwestern state of Arizona.  Organizers in Los Angeles are expecting as many as 100,000 people to turn out.

Cuban President Raul Castro presided over a huge march in Havana.  Thousands came out in a show of support for the country's Communist government.

In Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, demonstrators demanded safer work environments and an end to layoffs.  

In Hong Kong, the focus was on creating a minimum wage.

Protesters in Japan and Taiwan were asking employers to improve guarantees on job security for their workers.

Large May Day rallies have also been observed in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur and in the Philippines.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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