May Day Marked By Global Protests

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Demonstrations are taking place across the world as protesters gather to mark May Day, the traditional date for demanding better workers’ rights.

Protests first began in Asia, with tens of thousands of workers in Jakarta calling for improved conditions and mobilising against government plans to cut fuel subsidies.

The president has said the fuel price measures will not be implemented until parliament approves compensation for those likely to be affected.

Istanbul clashes

With 80 countries around the world marking May 1 as a public holiday, Istanbul’s Taksim Square was in lockdown on Wednesday, after the Turkish government banned May Day protests there.

The square is the site of a 1977 May Day massacre in which dozens of people died under disputed circumstances.

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Cambodia workers

In Phnom Pehn, the Cambodian capital, garment factory workers demanded higher wages and better working conditions.

Organisers said about 5,000 demonstrators, including union workers, gathered for the rally, chanting slogans and holding banners.

Protesters came from 16 unions and associations in Cambodia to mark International Labour Day and urge whoever wins the general election in July to meet their demands.

“I demand that my pay is increased to $150 per month,” said garment worker Neang Leakena, from the Chinese-owned Deum Por garment factory.

In the Philippines, thousands of contract workers marched through the streets of the capital, Manila.

Banned from forming labour unions, the workers demanded that the government strengthen their rights.

European protests

In Athens, Greece’s capital, the main public and private sector unions called a 24-hour strike to protest against the government’s austerity policies.

Greece has had to enforce tax rises and spending cuts as part of deals with the International Monetary Fund and its eurozone partners to overcome a crippling debt crisis.

On Sunday, parliament approved a bill which will leave 15,000 civil servants out of work by the end of next year.

In Moscow, the Russian capital, authorities sanctioned 16 separate rallies, including one led by Vladimir Putin’s ruling United Russia party.

Other groups, including the Communist Party, are holding gatherings of their own. Up to 90,000 people are expected. [AlJazeera]

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