It is May Day and here is a small summary of just some what is going on.
From Europe Online:
There were reports of stones hurled and insults shouted at police, firecrackers detonated and vandalism against banks and petrol stations.
A lead group of black-clad protesters attempted several times to rush a police line, as officers took shelter behind a truck. The demonstrators eventually withdrew, flinging smoke bombs and noisemakers.
The day was generally more peaceful than past May 1 holidays in Berlin.
In Hamburg, about 1,400 demonstrators marched down the historic Reeperbahn, with police mounting, but not employing, water cannon along the way.
May Day has often been associated with clashes between police and demonstrators and acts of vandalism and arson against businesses seen as gentrifying districts that had traditionally been home to people with anti-capitalist philosophies. Many of the Berlin protests centre on the Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain districts.
Berlin police reported that the marches started later than planned and that they had 7,000 personnel on hand for security. Helicopters could be heard overhead.
Demonstrators were dressed in black and wearing sunglasses or dark clothes over their faces as they marched.
Police noted that the night of April 30 - also a traditional night for violent protests - was unusually calm in Hamburg and Berlin. However, authorities said they were on standby for nightfall, when most violent incidents tend to occur.
"We have great respect for this job, but we are as ready as we can be," said police spokesman
From the eye of the eurozone debt storm in Madrid to the streets of Paris and Athens, where tottering governments face elections within days, marchers spoke of job losses, spending cuts and hard times.
More than two years after the eurozone sovereign debt crisis erupted, frustration with austerity is boiling over across the continent as voters wait in vain for signs of the economic pay-off.
In Spain, suffering the industrialised world's highest jobless rate of 24.4 percent in the first quarter of 2012, the major unions called protests in about 80 cities.
Tens of thousands massed in central Madrid's Neptuno square, decrying the jobless queue, new labour reforms that make it easier and cheaper to fire workers, and a budget squeeze in health care and education.
"Total Violence, You Are Robbing Us of Home and Bread!" read a banner brandished by 51-year-old Josefa Martinez Fernandez, who said her two daughters in their 20s were out of work.
"They are going to destroy more jobs with the labour reform and create rubbish jobs," complained 28-year-old graphic designer Sonia Calles.
"Already in Spain almost everyone is an intern up to the age of 30. And now employment insecurity is going to hit those in their 30s and 40s."
Thousands rallied in Athens, Thessaloniki and other cities around Greece, five days ahead of cliffhanger general elections with voters fed up with years of austerity.
"No-one Alone, Together We Will Get There!" read a banner draped on a stage in Athens' central Kotzia square.
Polls indicate that Greeks are fleeing the main parties for smaller groups in revenge over a European Union-IMF economic recovery plan that has brought repeated waves of pay and pension cuts.
The two parties that have ruled Greece for the past 37 years, socialist Pasok and conservative New Democracy, are blamed for catastrophic finances after decades of state overspending and nepotism.
The new Greek government will face an early test when 436 million euros ($575 million) of debt, held by private creditors who turned down a swap, matures on May 15.
In Paris, the French presidential election race overcast the day as three powerful political movements battled for attention with competing rallies five days before polling day.
Marine Le Pen's anti-immigrant far-right National Front kicked off the May Day events with several thousand supporters marching through central Paris in memory of Joan of Arc, who has become a far-right icon.
Le Pen, who scored a record 18 percent in the April 22 first round, led the march and urged supporters to abstain rather than back President Nicolas Sarkozy or Socialist Francois Hollande in the run-off.
Waving a sea of blue, white and red French flags, Le Pen's supporters chanted "France for the French!" and "This Is Our Home!" as they marched to the Place de l'Opera.
Sarkozy's right-wing supporters were to gather at the Place du Trocadero in Paris's posh 16th arrondissement to hear their champion give his last major speech in the capital before the vote.
And, on the left, trade unions were to carry out their traditional march to the historic Place de la Bastille.
With the latest poll predicting a Hollande win on Sunday by 53 to 47 percent, Sarkozy is anxious to gain some momentum from the rally and said he expected "tens of thousands of French" to take part.
In contrast to Western European rallies, more than 100,000 people held a Soviet-style march through Moscow to celebrate labour day and show support for president-elect Vladimir Putin ahead of his inauguration.
Accompanied by kitsch brass music and surrounded by multi-coloured balloons, Putin and outgoing President Dmitry Medvedev led the march through a central Moscow avenue.
Police said around 120,000 people took part in the "Holiday of Labour and Spring" march in Moscow.
From Morning Star:
Britain's working class fights back
Carrying red flags and singing Soviet songs 20 years after the USSR collapse, the workers here say they are disappointed with the current political situation in Ukraine.
Along with the typical soviet mottos like “Peace, Labor, May” on May 1st, the protesters held banners criticizing the government policies. They demand salary hikes and an end to the mounting unemployment
A former miner, Genadiy Anikeev, protests against what he describes as ‘the oligarchs’ who are robbing the people of their rights. His frustration near equals his nostalgia about the Soviet Union.
For the last few years, left wing parties have become more attractive for citizens in Ukraine. According to the head of the Ukrainian communists Petro Symonenko almost one half of new members are the youth, who had never lived in the USSR.
Recent surveys show that almost 70% of the population do not support the state’s interior and foreign policy. Sociologists report that citizens are choosing to blame the situation on the President, Viktor Yanukovych. In the run-up to parliamentary elections, this is providing ammunition for opposition parties.
The Anarchist “Terrorists” Arrested in May Day Plot Were Supplied by the FBI and an Informant With a Lengthy Criminal Record
|Cubans Stage a Colorful Parade with Socialist Flavor|
|Por Roberto Hernandez|
Havana, May 1 (Prensa Latina) Hundreds of thousands of workers, employees and students marched on Tuesday in Havana bearing the colors of the Cuban flag to commemorate International Workers'' Day with socialism as a course.
The parade, which started at 07:29 hours, local time (11:29 GMT), was led by a bloc of health workers from the capital, the flagship sector of Cuba's international cooperation, currently present in 66 countries.
Several people bore the flags of the nations in which the Cuban medical brigades work, with representation in every continent.
Giant Cuban flags, posters allegorical to the celebration and with the colors blue, red and white were the protagonists of the parade, held simultaneously in other cities of the country.
Grouped into 23 blocs, union members, many of whom with models representing their respective areas, such as dolls dressed as nurses, taxis, computers, picks and shovels marched in front of the monument to Cuban National Hero Jose Marti.
They carried pictures of the leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro, and world revolutionaries like Karl Marx and Vladimir Ilich Lenin.
There were also prominent banners with images of the Cuban antiterrorists Gerardo Hernandez, Ramon Labanino, Antonio Guerrero, Fernando Gonzalez and Rene Gonzalez, who were arrested more than 13 years ago in the United States, and with demands for their release and immediate return home.
For nearly one and a half hour, participants chanted slogans in favor of the Revolution, socialism and the leadership of Fidel Castro and Raul Castro.
In an area of the rostrum were 1,900 union leaders representing 209 organizations from 117 countries, who saw hundreds of thousands of people marching in Havana on behalf of the entire Cuban population.