Around the world, people march against austerity measures and for economic and political rights
DANYA NADAR, TRNN: On May 1, the annual rally on May Day, also known as International Workers Day, gathered millions of demonstrators from around the world marching for labor rights, including better working conditions, higher wages, and proper social security. In cities across the United States, thousands of people rallied in protest of anti-union laws, sparked in Wisconsin earlier this year, and in support of undocumented immigrants who are facing increased incrimination at state levels. In Atlanta, Georgia, about 1,000 people gathered at the state capitol urging Republican governor Nathan Deal not to sign a bill passed by the legislature that would authorize law enforcement officers to verify the immigration status of criminal suspects. In Los Angeles, people marched in support of comprehensive immigration reform, workers rights, and the passing of the federal DREAM Act. In Europe, demonstrators focused on increased austerity measures taken by their governments. At least 15,000 people marched in Greece, a country which has suffered deep budget cuts as a result of the bailout package it took from neighboring countries and the International Monetary Fund. According to AP, at the least, 160,000 people have lost their jobs since April 23. Across Germany, more than 420,000 people rallied, demanding for a statutory minimum wage of EUR 8.50, better working conditions, and sufficient social security. In Turkey, around 200,000 demonstrators rallied in Taksim Square demanding more jobs, better working conditions, and higher wages. Sunday’s rally was the largest in Taksim Square since May 1977, when a shooting triggered a stampede, which made holding May Day rallies illegal until last year. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, thousands of Egyptian workers demanded an increase in minimum wage to EGP 1,200, permanent contracts for temporary workers, and protested against a new law restricting strikes, sit-ins, and demonstrations by workers. Egyptians also celebrated the formation of an independent trade union, the first of its kind since 1952. In South Korea, 50,000 people rallied in Seoul for better labor protections and urged the government to contain rising inflation, which has resulted in the increase of food and oil prices. Almost 8,000 Hong Kong and Macau demonstrators hit the streets to protest soaring rent and food prices in the southern Chinese territories. The demonstrations came even as Hong Kong introduced its first minimum wage at $3.60 per hour, which unions hailed as a step forward, but not nearly enough for many low-income families already struggling to make ends meet. Many other countries joined in solidarity with their fellow workers in the May Day protest. Among some of them were Bangladesh, Swaziland, Somalia, United Kingdom, France, Russia, Serbia, and Cuba. This is Danya Nadar for The Real News Network.