May Day: Clashes, arrests as demonstrations take place across the world

Protesters stand near a burning trash bin in the street during the annual May Day (Labour Day) rally in Paris on May 1, 2021.
Protesters stand near a burning trash bin in the street during the annual May Day (Labour Day) rally in Paris on May 1, 2021. Copyright BERTRAND GUAY/AFP or licensors
By Euronews & AFP & AP
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Protests have taken place everywhere from Indonesia to Istanbul to Paris and the U.S.

Protesters clashed with police after tens of thousands thronged the streets of the French capital, Paris, to mark May Day. 


At least 34 had been arrested by 7 pm on Saturday, AFP reported, after police used tear gas and crowd control grenades again demonstrators. 

A bank window was smashed on Boulevard Voltaire and a bus shelter destroyed as police struggled to control so-called 'black bloc' demonstrators. At least one police officer was injured, AFP reported. 

May 1 is marked in many countries as International Workers' Day, Labour Day - or simply May Day - and is a public holiday in some nations, including France.

Elsewhere in Europe

In Germany, pro-migrant and anti-racism demonstrators marched through the streets of Berlin and other German cities, while in Italy marchers defied coronavirus restrictions in several cities. 

In Spain, marchers took to the streets in Madrid and Barcelona to call for government pensions and the protection of wages in a country that has seen 17% of jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic. 

Meanwhile, in London, protesters took to the streets to oppose the new police powers act that is being pushed by Boris Johnson's Conservative Party and will restrict the right to protest in the UK. 

In Bosnia, coal miner Turni Kadric said he and his colleagues are “barely surviving" and protesters argued for European standards of work protection and wages. 


Elsewhere, dozens of protesters were arrested in Istanbul as they tried to mark May 1 against a ban imposed by the government due to COVID-19 restrictions.

BULENT KILIC/AFP or licensors
A Turkish policeman stands in a cloud of teargas after he accidentally let off a canister as they detain a demonstrator during a May Day rallyBULENT KILIC/AFP or licensors

Over 200 were arrested as they tried to reach Taksim Square and other public spaces in the city, with photographs showing police firing tear gas and dragging protesters to the ground.

In Turkey, May Day has traditionally brought critics of the government out on the streets and regularly provokes police crackdowns.

Turkey has had a strict lockdown in place since April 29 due to a deadly third wave of COVID-19.



In Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, thousands voiced anger at a new jobs law that critics fear will reduce severance pay, lessen restrictions for foreign workers and increase outsourcing as the nation seeks to attract more investment. 

Protesters in the capital of Jakarta laid mock graves on the street to symbolize hopelessness and marches were being held in some 200 cities.

In the Philippine capital of Manila, where a monthlong coronavirus lockdown has been extended by two weeks amid a surge in infections, police prevented hundreds of workers from demonstrating at a public plaza, protest leader Renato Reyes said. 

But protesters did gather briefly at a busy Manila boulevard, demanding pandemic cash aid, wage subsidies and COVID-19 vaccines amid rising unemployment and hunger.

“Workers were largely left to fend for themselves while being locked down,” labor leader Josua Mata said.

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