May Day protesters in Europe call for more aid as inflation rises across the continent

Protesters march during a May Day demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Sunday, May 1, 2022. May 1 is celebrated as International Workers’ Day or May Day around the world. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole) (Daniel Cole/)

Tens of thousands of people marched in cities across Europe on Sunday during May Day protests to honor workers and claim to governments.

In France, protesters shouted slogans against newly elected President Emmanuel Macron, a development that may set the tone for his second term..

Tensions flared in Paris when protesters smashed the windows of banks and a fast-food restaurant and smashed street signs, apparently the work of men dressed and masked in black. Police intervened, firing rounds of tear gas.

May Day is often a time of high emotion for unionists and other workers, and protests in the past two years have been limited by pandemic restrictions.

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A man holds a flag of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic during a May Day rally on International Workers’ Day in Belgrade, Serbia, Sunday, May 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic) (Darko Vojinovic/ )

The Turkish police moved quickly in istanbul and surrounded protesters near Taksim Square, where 34 people were killed in 1977 during a May Day event when shots were fired into the crowd from a building.

On Sunday, Turkish police detained 164 people for demonstrating without permits and resisting police in the square, the Istanbul governor’s office said. On the Asian side of sprawling Istanbul, a May Day rally drew thousands of people, who chanted, chanted and waved banners, a rally organized by the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey.

In Italy, after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, an open-air mega-concert has been scheduled for Rome with rallies and protests in cities across the country. In addition to work, peace was an underlying theme, with many calling for an end to Russia‘s war in Ukraine.

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People attend a May Day rally on International Workers’ Day in Belgrade, Serbia, on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Workers and activists celebrated May Day with demonstrations and marches challenging for better wages and working conditions . (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

Italy’s three main unions were massing their main rally in the hilltop city of Assisi, a frequent destination for peace protests.

“It is a May Day of social and civil commitment for peace and work”, said the leader of the Italian CISL union, Daniela Fumarola.

Rising inflation and fears of food shortages from the war in Ukraine were fueling discontent around the world.

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Federal Minister for Family Affairs Lisa Paus, fourth from right, and Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey, center, hold a banner that reads ‘Shape the future together’ in German as they participate in the main May Day demonstration of the German Trade Federation. Union Federation (DGB), in Berlin, on Sunday, May 1, 2022. (Joerg Carstensen/dpa via AP) (Joerg Carstensen/)

Thousands of workers, unemployed and retirees marched peacefully in the capital of Macedonia of the North, Skopje, demanding wage increases and respect for workers’ rights. Inflation, at an annual rate of 8.8% in March, is at its highest point in 14 years.

Darko Dimovski, head of the country’s Federation of Trade Unions, told the crowd that the workers are demanding an across-the-board wage increase.

“The economic crisis has eaten into workers’ wages,” he said.

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A woman dressed as Marianne, a female symbol of the French republic since the 1789 revolution, holds a French flag during a May Day demonstration in Marseille, southern France, Sunday, May 1, 2022. (AP Photo /Daniel Cole) (Daniel Cole/)

In France, the May Day demonstrations, which took place a week after the country’s presidential election, were aimed at showing the centrist Macron the opposition he could face in his second five-year term. Opposition parties, particularly from the far left and far right, are seeking to break his government’s majority in France’s parliamentary elections in June.

The Paris march was dominated by far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who came third in the presidential vote and is now in talks with other left-wing parties in France, including the once-dominant socialists now struggling to exist. . Melenchon called on potential partners to ally themselves to prevent Macron’s centrists from dominating parliament as they do now.

“Our goal is victory,” he said.

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A protester holds a sign reading “Stop Macron” during a May Day rally in Marseille, southern France, Sunday, May 1, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole) (Daniel Cole/)

Some 250 marches and protests were taking place across France, with the communist-backed CGT union leading the main march through eastern Paris. All were pressing Macron to adopt policies that put people first and condemning his plan to raise France’s retirement age from 62 to 65. Macron says that is the only way the government can continue to provide good retirement benefits to the French.

“May Day is the time to demonstrate for a reduction in working hours. That reduction means one key thing: that workers should get a bigger share of the wealth,” Melenchon said.

At first, far-right leader Marine Le Pen was absent from her party’s traditional floral offering at the foot of a statue of Joan of Arc, replaced by the interim president of her National Rally party. Le Pen was defeated by Macron in last Sunday’s presidential runoff and plans to campaign to keep her seat as lawmaker.

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Riot police officers take position during a May Day demonstration march from Republique, Bastille to Nation, in Paris, France, Sunday, May 1, 2022. Citizens and unions in France take to the streets to send messages of protest to their governments as a rallying cry against the newly re-elected President Emmanuel Macron. (AP Photo/Lewis Joly) (Lewis Joly/)

“I have come to tell the French that the vote is not over. There is a third round, the legislative elections,” said Jordan Bardella of National Rally. “It would be incredible to leave all the power to Emmanuel Macron.”

(with information from AP)


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