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May Day demonstrations in Germany this year were held under the slogans of improving wages and social security. Meanwhile, Greeks and Portuguese protested against tough measures to reduce the budget deficit.
On International Labor Day, May 1, thousands of citizens took to the streets of hundreds of German cities, advocating better working conditions, higher salaries and social security. “May 1 is not a holiday, but the day we rally in defense of workers’ rights,” said Michael Sommer, head of the German Trade Union Association (DGB), at the DGB main rally in Kassel. According to trade unions, about 4 thousand people participated in the demonstration, according to police estimates – about 3 thousand.
At the same time, Sommer welcomed the cancellation of the restriction on labor migration from a number of Eastern European countries effective May 1. However, unscrupulous employers should not at the same time rely on cheap labor from Eastern Europe, the head of the DGB warned. Sommer demanded the introduction of a minimum wage of 8.50 euros per hour. According to him, the principle “the same salary – for the same work” should be enshrined in Germany in law.
Walpurgis night was relatively calm
For the introduction of a minimum wage, the head of the union of metalworkers IG-Metall, Berthold Huber, also spoke in favor. According to him, too low wages are dangerous, especially for young people and inevitably lead to poverty in old age.
The night of May 1, traditionally known for the riots of radical groups in Hamburg and Berlin, was relatively calm. Representatives of the police, despite the detention of 17 people and scattered violations of public order in Hamburg, summed up the positive results.
Greeks and Portuguese protest against austerity measures
May Day demonstrations took place in other European countries. In a number of Greek cities, many thousands of people took part in mass actions. Only in Athens, about 7 thousand citizens took to the streets. The Greeks are protesting against the austerity measures that the government insists on.
In Portugal, which is also in a difficult financial situation, tens of thousands of people protested against the budget debt reduction plan, which the EU and the International Monetary Fund are insisting on. “Public protests have never been so significant,” AFP quoted Manuel Carvalho da Silva, head of the General Confederation of Portuguese Workers.
In France – 200 demonstrations, in Istanbul – 200 thousand people
The French far-right National Front party gathered its supporters for the traditional May Day procession dedicated to Joan of Arc. The action was attended by several thousand people who chanted the slogans “France for the French” and others. The five largest French unions organized around 200 demonstrations across the country.
About 200 thousand people took part in the May Day demonstration in Istanbul, organized by trade unions and a number of political movements. They advocated an improvement in working conditions and a higher level of wages. According to dpa, about 40 thousand policemen guarded the order on the streets. However, there were no major clashes between demonstrators and law enforcement agencies.
May Day passed peacefully in Russia
In Russian cities, May Day demonstrations, by and large, were held without violations. In Moscow, several actions were organized. The largest of them was a joint rally of trade unions and United Russia in front of the city hall. According to various estimates, 25-30 thousand people took part in it. A meeting of communists was held on Theater Square. The opposition rally took place on Bolotnaya Square. About 250 people participated in it.
On May 1, about 50 people were detained in St. Petersburg, most of them for trying to conduct an unauthorized rally near the Oktyabrsky Concert Hall. About 20 thousand people took part in the march of United Russia supporters on Nevsky Prospekt.
One of the most numerous demonstrations in Russia took place in Vladivostok. More than 50 thousand inhabitants of the region took to the streets of the capital of Primorye. The action was organized by the administration of the Primorsky Territory.