ROGRESSIVES and trade unionists celebrated International Workers Day today with demonstrations and rallies in most major cities across the world.
Striking workers rallied in Paris against President Emmanuel Macron’s labour reforms, marking the 50th anniversary of the May 1968 popular uprising.
Rail workers are taking three-month rolling strike action over government plans to slash pensions and open France’s rail network to the private sector.
Around 120,000 public-sector jobs are set to be axed over the next five years.
At least 7,000 marched to the US embassy in Athens in a demonstration organised by the Communist-led Pame union federation.
They pledged “international solidarity with the Syrian people,” condemning imperialist military interventions.
“The working class, their peoples and their children have a great power in their hands which can be released on the path of class struggle, the struggle for the right to jobs, wages and pensions, social rights, against the change of borders, against the imperialist wars and interventions,” a Pame spokesman said.
Police made 45 arrests as protesters in Turkey gathered near Istanbul’s Taksim Square in defiance of a ban.
Workers organisations laid wreaths in memory of 34 people killed there during May Day celebrations in 1977 when government forces opened fire at a rally from a nearby building.
South African communists gathered in rallies across the country as they vowed to continue the struggle against “state capture” and corruption in the country.
In a statement they said it was essential to build working-class unity to “ensure that the ‘New Dawn’ does not turn out to be a return to neoliberalism. “
Workers in the Philippines burnt an effigy of President Rodrigo Duterte in front of the presidential palace in Manila as they protested against repression of trade unions and low wages.
The Kurdistan National Congress said its response to wars being waged against the Kurdish people was to “strengthen our international solidarity.”
In a statement the umbrella organisation representing the international Kurdish Freedom Movement warned that Turkey’s “dirty war” was financed by its lucrative mass tourism industry, calling for it to be boycotted.
“It is our duty and obligation as democratic forces to build a global democracy against capitalist exploitation,” the statement said.
Iran’s Tudeh Party pledged to “campaign for peace, for an end to theocratic rule, for genuine democracy and human rights, for trade union rights, and for social justice in Iran.”