Worldwide Mayday Protests : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread


Tuesday May 1 1:43 PM ET May Day Protests Sweep World Cities

By Giles Elgood

LONDON (Reuters) - May Day protest rallies swept cities around the world with hundreds detained in demonstrations ranging from skirmishes with anti-capitalists against global trade to traditional demands for workers' rights.

German police fired teargas and turned water cannon on leftists in Berlin and Frankfurt, police arrested 40 people in Switzerland's financial capital of Zurich and thousands of demonstrators paralyzed London's main shopping area on Oxford Street in a day-long confrontation.

By nightfall, about 5,000 protesters, including several hundred self-proclaimed anarchists, were still trapped by police surrounding them in London's Oxford Circus.

The protests against economic globalization follow violent street action against the World Trade Organization (news - web sites) meeting in Seattle in 1999, and at summits in Prague last year and Quebec City last month.

Protesters complain that multinational corporations wield too much power over people's lives, even to the point of coercing democratically elected governments.

The protests began first in Australia where demonstrators tried to shut down Sydney and Melbourne's stock exchanges.

Protesters blocked streets in financial districts and, joined by trade unionists, marched on state parliaments in Sydney and Melbourne. Dozens of people were detained.

In Russia, tens of thousands of people marched to demand better pay and more jobs. Some sought better workers' rights, others a return to the certainties of their communist past.

Russian news agencies quoted police as saying more than 300,000 people had attended some 480 marches without incident in the world's largest country stretching over 11 time zones.

Cream Pie For Minister

In Oslo, protesters threw a cream pie in the face of Norwegian Foreign Minister Thorbjoern Jagland.

``Cream pie throwing has become an epidemic,'' the minister said, laughing off the attack during a May Day rally.

One of the pie-throwers said the attack was a protest at what they viewed as a drift to the right in Norwegian politics under the minority Labor government.

Germany's worst violence took place in the financial capital of Frankfurt where police used teargas, water cannon and batons in clashes with several thousand left-wing activists protesting against a neo-Nazi march in the city.

Five police officers were injured in the Frankfurt clashes, while 55 protesters were detained and 31 others arrested.

Berlin police arrested 40 people after being pelted by bottles and stones. Over 6,000 leftists and anarchists set fire to barricades overnight in two eastern Berlin suburbs.

Leftists also barricaded streets in the northern city of Hamburg, damaging cars and setting off fireworks. Police said one person was arrested and 31 were temporarily detained.

In Zurich, protesters threw stones, bottles and paint at police, who responded with water cannon, teargas and rubber shotgun pellets. A police spokesman said around 40 people had been detained.

Bottles flew and fireworks exploded in London's Oxford Street, prompting police to use batons against protesters who had chosen the area for their main protest.

Police said 31 people had so far been detained and 10 protesters taken away with ``minor injuries.

In Britain, police had deployed in force across London to face an estimated 10,000 activists, vowing to prevent a re-run of the violence that erupted in the city a year ago.

More than 500 cyclists blocked morning London traffic and staged a brief, noisy protest outside the U.S. embassy.

About 5,000 protesters then gathered in Oxford Street where they faced mounted riot policemen in pouring rain.

Unlike many European capitals where May Day is a public holiday, the date is a normal working day in Britain.

Russians Rally

In South Korea about 20,000 workers faced 15,000 riot police in Seoul to protest against government economic restructuring and a harsh police crackdown on car workers in April.

In Taiwan, thousands of unemployed workers and union activists marched through Taipei, demanding jobs and the resignation of top government officials.

Russia's news agency Interfax said more than 50,000 people took part in May Day rallies across Siberia and the Far East.

It said they were demanding higher wages, better working conditions, improved pensions, price controls and abolition of a single social tax introduced at the beginning of the year.

Marchers carried banners proclaiming ``We need a second Stalin'' and ``No to the anti-national policy of the government.''

Thousands of Iranian workers marched to the parliament to protest against high unemployment and to demand tougher action against illegal foreign laborers.

In Zimbabwe, thousands of workers gathered for a May Day rally seen as a test of the government's ability to win key labor votes ahead of presidential polls expected next year.

In Hong Kong, hundreds of workers staged protests against high unemployment.

In Greece, flights were curtailed and shipping and rail services disrupted when public transport workers joined in May Day protests against government plans for pension changes.

A scuffle broke out in the northern Italian city of Turin after a small group of activists backing center-right leader Silvio Berlusconi tried to join a leftist May Day rally.

Some 5,000 mostly elderly supporters of Bulgaria's main opposition Socialist Party marched in central Sofia to protest against poverty, rising crime and corruption.

Nando Times

Riot police battle anti-globalization protesters in Australia

By MIKE CORDER, Associated Press

SYDNEY, Australia (May 1, 2001 12:04 p.m. EDT) - Hundreds of anti-globalization protesters fought with riot police in Australia on May Day, a labor holiday that had officials around the world guarding against violence.

Police in Berlin clashed with violent leftists in a pre-dawn prelude to feared mayhem Tuesday, while storeowners in Britain boarded up windows and police braced for trouble with a huge display of manpower.

Workers from North and South Korea sang and danced together at a scenic resort in the North in their first joint celebration of May Day, while thousands of South Korean workers marched to protest layoffs.

In Havana, Fidel Castro' s communist government called Cubans out for a May Day march past the U.S. government' s mission. In Phnom Penh, more than 2,000 people demanded better conditions for Cambodia' s estimated 150, 000 garment factory workers.

Police and protesters clashed violently in cities across Australia as thousands of demonstrators tried to shut down stock exchanges and big corporations.

In Sydney, two police were hospitalized and 28 others injured as police detained 30 protesters. In Brisbane, about 35 activists were arrested and several people injured as protesters tried to storm the stock exchange. In Perth on the Western coast, police on horseback charged into protesters blocking streets.

Smaller protests in other cities were peaceful, and turnouts were smaller than expected, police said.

"The world belongs to the people. The streets belong to the people," protesters screamed in Brisbane.

Protesters in Melbourne briefly threatened to storm a McDonald' s restaurant and sprayed it with slogans as onlookers cheered.

"I'm here to protest the ongoing environmental destruction that is going on around the world and the absolutely disgusting greed of companies who employ slave labor," Dougal McNeill, 19, of New Zealand, said at the Melbourne demonstration.

German police battled hundreds of violent May Day protesters in Berlin, using water cannon to break up burning street blockades and arresting several dozen leftists. Far-right marchers took to the streets later, kept apart from counterdemonstrators by police.

May Day protests in Berlin have turned violent in the last 14 years, including 226 police injuries last year.

Authorities in Britain - nervously recalling scuffles between demonstrators and police a year ago - ordered 6, 000 officers on duty.

With a helicopter circling above, police kept watch as about 600 bicyclists snarled rush hour traffic in central London, honking horns and shouting slogans for causes from curbs on pollution to freedom for Tibet.

An estimated 300,000 people joined Day rallies in Russia, many carrying Soviet-era relics such as red flags and portraits of Josef Stalin. Snow greeted ralliers in some cities.

In Moscow, the turnout for two rallies was estimated at about 28, 000 - a shadow of the 150, 000-strong crowds that jammed Red Square when May Day was one of the most important dates on the Soviet ceremonial calendar.

"I came to celebrate this holiday because everything has been taken away from us," pensioner Lidiya Olennikova said." Moscow is overwhelmed with Western influence. It is impossible for us to be like that - at least we want our dignity back."

In Seoul, 10,000 workers and students beating gongs and drums marched behind a banner that read: " Down with (President) Kim Dae-jung, who ruined workers' lives." Another large group of protesters scuffled with police trying to block their way.

In China, May Day is a holiday for most workers. It is far less politically charged than it once was, marking the start of one of the year's biggest travel seasons instead of mass rallies. The government requires employers to give employees the rest of the week off, in part to try to stimulate the economy by encouraging people to spend on travel.

In Hong Kong, about 150 Asian domestic helpers marched to government headquarters Tuesday to protest what they call unfair treatment in the affluent territory. The migrants from Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand wore headbands and carried banners reading, "Say no to class discrimination."

In Taiwan, about 20,000 protesters from trade unions waved placards and purple banners reading " Give Me Work" and demanded the government curb the jobless rate, which is at a 16-year high of nearly 4 percent.

They approached the presidential palace and were met by 100 shield-bearing riot police who stood behind barbed wire as the protesters chanted slogans and threw pro-labor leaflets.

In Indonesia, about 1,000 workers rallied to demand that May Day be made an official holiday. The dictatorship of ex-President Suharto crushed the trade union movement when it took power in the mid-1960s and abolished the holiday.

About 1,000 workers from the two Koreas observed May Day together at Diamond Mountain, a scenic North Korean resort area.

The inter-Korean festivities were the first of their kind since the division of the Korean peninsula in 1945.

-- Rachel Gibson (, May 01, 2001


We live in some interesting times. I think that the doo-doo is about to hit the fan all over the world real soon. The way things look the people are the fan and the law makers, politicians and law enforcment are the doo-doo.

-- NdewTyme (, May 01, 2001.

-- spider (, May 01, 2001.

ROTFLMAO, spider!

-- Rachel Gibson (, May 01, 2001.

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