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article imageMay Day: Protests & demonstrations worldwide on Workers' Day

By Anne Sewell     May 1, 2012 in World
Worldwide demonstrations and protests see tens of thousands of people out on the streets to mark International Workers' Day.
It is a global event, as people get out in the streets in the thousands protesting against austerity cuts, living costs, government policies and low salaries. On the list too are unemployment and rising consumer prices worldwide.
In Asia, protests were organised by left-wing parties and trade unions. The demonstrations are for higher pay and better working conditions and protesting government policy, as the cost of living spikes all over the continent.
May Day sees protesters in the Phillipines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia, demanding pay increases as they cannot survive with the rising consumer prices in the countries. They are also requesting lower school fees. In the Phillipines, one worker states that she earns only $70 a month and that it is almost impossible to survive on such a small salary.
Workers in Indonesia have formed Asia's largest demonstration and there is a heavy army and police presence on the streets. Protesters are carrying banners saying "stop outsourcing contracts" and "raise our salaries". The demonstration started with around 9,000 workers who gathered at Jakarta's main roundabout before marching to the state palace.
Police spokesman in Jakarta, Rikwanto stated that around 16,000 policemen and soldiers had been deployed to guard the protest.
A protest leader, Muhamad Rusdi told AFP that, "Living costs have gone up but our salaries remain unchanged."
"We only make enough to eat but there is no money in the bank, no money for our children's education."
The Philippine capital, Manila, sees around 8,000 members of a labor alliance, many wearing red shirts and waving red streamers, who marched towards the presidential palace.
However, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III has rejected their calls for a pay hike. He warned that this would only worsen inflation, spark layoffs and turn away foreign investors.
In Kathmandu, capital of Nepal, Trade Unions have organised a rally to commemorate Labor Day with protesters demanding that workers' rights be respected.
In Europe, May 1 is a national holiday, which is also celebrated in more than 80 countries globally. Europeans were out there marching against the recent government-imposed austerity measures.
Russia sees around 100,000 protesters in Moscow, marching through the city centre. President Dmitry Medvedev and president-elect Vladimir Putin were in attendance.
In Greece, several thousand people have gathered in Athen's Syntagma square protesting against the government's austerity measures.
Protests are happening all over Spain, especially with the huge increase in the number of unemployed which has risen to just under 25%. Tens of thousands have massed in central Madrid's Neptuno square, protesting the new labor reforms which make it easier to fire workers and also the austerity budget cuts in relation to both education and health care in the country.
Strikes and demonstrations are also planned for the U.S. including what could be the largest and most visible Occupy rally since the anti-Wall street camps were dismantled earlier in the year.
Many other countries are also experiencing protests and demonstrations.
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