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Protesters around the world have seized May Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, as a time to celebrate the contributions of the working class as they mobilize for better labor rights, revisions to the immigration and other causes around social and economic equality.
New York City
On Sunday, crowds of activists marched through lower Manhattan to demand worker protections and immigration reviews.
Local chapters of labor organizations affiliated with the AFL-CIO organized a “Unite Against Union Busting” march and rally that began in Union Square. Stops on the walk route included a Starbucks Roastery, Whole Foods and a penthouse owned by Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.
The event comes as workers at Starbucks and Amazon (which owns Whole Foods) are pushing nationwide to unionize. These efforts have been met with pushback from companies trying to break up union formation.
Elsewhere, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, DN.Y., spoke at a rally in Foley Square to defend immigrant labor. She demanded a full path to citizenship for immigrants.
“We are fighting for the workers because the workers are fighting for us,” she told a crowd.
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In France, protesters staged more than 200 marches and demonstrations across the country, with a focus on Paris.
Violence erupted in the city, as some people smashed bank windows and tore down street signs. Police intervened, firing tear gas canisters, according to the Associated Press.
Far-left protesters used the day to demonstrate their opposition to newly re-elected President Emmanuel Macron and his plan to raise the retirement age in France from 62 to 65.
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In Istanbul on Sunday, Turkish police arrested at least 164 people for protesting without a permit and resisting police in Taksim Square, the AP reported, citing the city governor’s office.
In what is known as the Asian side of Istanbul, thousands of May Day observers gathered chanting, chanting and waving banners as part of a protest organized by the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey .
Taksim Square is a significant site for workers in Turkey, which in 2013 saw anti-government protests and in 1977 an armed attack left dozens of union protesters dead.
The Chinese quietly spent a normally busy National Day weekend on May Day. Many cities in China are currently closed and travel is restricted due to the government’s zero-COVID policy, which has banned millions of residents from leaving their homes. On Sunday, some restrictions were eased in Shanghai, the country’s largest city, but businesses remained closed and events cancelled.
In Cuba, people took to the streets with banners and pictures of Cuban revolutionary leaders. President Miguel Díaz-Canel and retired leader Raul Castro led a massive march through the capital of Havana.
The government-led May Day marches in Cuba celebrate Cuba’s 63-year-old revolution and are meant to serve as a rebuke to the U.S. embargo, as Reuters notes.
Sex workers from Kolkata’s biggest red-light district, Sonagachi, marched on the eve of May Day as part of a rally organized by a group working to decriminalize sex work and remove stigma from the profession.
“Our work is constitutional and our children need their mothers to have regular working status,” said Bishakha Laskar, chairwoman of the group known as the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee. was quoted as saying according to the ANI news agency.
On Sunday, unions held rallies in several Indian cities to demand better working conditions and more labor rights.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.