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Workers of the world mark May Day with marches and rallies

WORKERS across the world took to the streets today, marking International Workers’ Day by protesting against the pressure of rising prices and demanding better employment rights.

In Istanbul, Turkish police fired tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse thousands of people who tried to break through a barricade and reach Taksim Square, where May Day celebrations are banned.

The square holds symbolic value for trade unions. In 1977, unidentified gunmen opened fire on a May Day celebration in the square, causing a stampede and killing 34 people.

At least 30 people were detained for trying to pass through another blockade.

In Athens, several thousand people, including Gaza demonstrators, joined marches as strikes disrupted public transport and train services across Greece.

The country’s largest union is demanding a return to collective bargaining after workers’ rights were scrapped during Greece’s 2010-18 financial crisis.

“We want to send a message that workers say no to exploitation, no to poverty, no to high prices,” said Nikos Mavrokefalos at the march.

In Paris, thousands of protesters marched through the French capital, seeking better pay and working conditions. Pro-Palestinian groups and anti-Olympics activists joined the rally, chanting slogans in support of people in Gaza.

Unions have warned of a strike during the Games, which start in less than three months, if the government does not adequately compensate people forced to work during summer holidays.

Government officials have failed to meet with union leaders ahead of the Olympics, said General Confederation of Labour (CGT) general secretary Sophie Binet.

“How do you expect it to go well if the authorities don’t respond to our simplest demand?” she asked.

In South Africa, pro-Palestinian demonstrators joined May Day events, while in Kenya, President William Ruto called for an increase in the minimum wage.

In Iraq, protesters demanded better wages, the reopening of closed factories and the end to the privatisation of certain businesses.

In Lebanon, pro-Palestinian marchers mingled with workers demanding an end to a miserable economic crisis.

In Indonesia, workers gathered in the capital Jakarta to demand protections for migrant workers abroad and a minimum wage rise.

In South Korea, thousands of protesters shouted pro-worker slogans at a rally against the anti-union policies of President Yoon Suk Yeol’s conservative government.

In Japan, more than 10,000 people gathered in Tokyo, demanding pay increases to offset higher prices.

In the Philippines, hundreds of workers and activists marched to demand wage increases and job security amid soaring food and oil prices.


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