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May 1 is under the sign of protest in several countries

May 1 is under the sign of protest in several countries

In Quebec, hundreds of people gathered In downtown Montreal As a reminder of the importance of respecting workers’ rights, especially after a year marked by a health crisis. For this occasion, the health network employees were honored. In Saguenay, nurses, teachers and workers demonstrated to mark International Labor Day, In the Chicotime region.

In France, tens of thousands of people took to the streets in particular, in response to the trade union’s call. After 2020 when the COVID-19 epidemic prevented traditional marches from taking place, nearly 300 parades were held this year in Lyon, Nantes, Lille and Toulouse.

We have many reasons to attend and explain: the health and social context, the general impoverishment of society.

Quote from:Evan Genesty, 50, a protester in Lyon

The processions, according to the Confederation of the General Federation of Labor (CGT), brought together more than 170,000 people, a figure the government estimates to be just over 106,000.

In Paris, participants held up banners criticizing in the rain Violation of the labor law He challenged the reform of the unemployment insurance system, which is due to take effect on July 1. The yellow jackets joined the procession along with the unions. Clashes erupted quickly at the start of the parade.

It set fire to several garbage bins and vandalized the window of a bank branch. A total of 5,000 police and gendarmes were deployed in the capital, where 46 people were arrested.

Philippe Martinez, leader of the French Confederation CGT, attends the traditional May Day rally.

Photo: Reuters / Gonzalo Fuentes

In Madrid, Berlin and even Istanbul

In Spain, the number of participants in demonstrations was limited by the epidemic: thus there were a thousand in Madrid, between City Hall and Puerta del Sol Square.

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In the Spanish capital, union leaders Pepe Alvarez (UGT) and Unai Sordo (CCOO), in their speeches, called on the government to keep commitments made, but delayed by the pandemic, such as abandoning a controversial reform of labor laws. Increasing the minimum wage and adopting a law on equal pay for men and women.

In Berlin, a demonstration at the invitation of the left and the far left gathered around 5,000 people, according to German police, who deployed in large numbers with 5,600 police officers for fear of possible flooding.

Clashes took place on the sidelines of the demonstration. In the early evening, there were brief incidents against elements of the far left and the police, especially when the latter evacuated some of them from the demonstration.

Around twenty rallies have been planned in the capital, with slogans ranging from increasing rents to immigration policy, by opposing the restrictive measures linked to the pandemic.

A couple embrace in front of the police and the protesters.

The scuffles took place on Saturday on the sidelines of a demonstration on May 1 in Berlin, where the police announced that the march would stop in the evening.

Photo: REUTERS / Christian Mang

On the Turkish side, security forces arrested 212 protesters after clashes during the rallies on May 1. Riot police and plainclothes officers clashed with union leaders and protesters before arresting dozens of them near Taksim Square in Istanbul.

The governor’s office said that some unions were allowed to assemble on May 1, but some other unions, which had assembled illegally in violation of containment and had ignored calls for separation, were arrested. And the state-run Anadolu Agency reported that 20 protesters were also arrested in the western city of Izmir.

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Against health restrictions

In Belgium, Sweden and Finland, hundreds of people also mobilized to protest against health measures taken by governments to try to contain the epidemic.

In Brussels, several hundred people defied the ban against the Belgian authorities and gathered a celebration In the garden. We are here to defend our freedom. mask? No, I don’t wear it anymore, I want to be freeAn 18-year-old high school student who was present at the scene explained.

It has been going on for a year. A year you can’t get out of it. After a while, you have to find solutions.

Quote from:A young woman from Brussels rallied against the health restrictions

However, the atmosphere was tense and pleasant when a police car arrived at the park. I heard the screams: Freedom, freedom. Then the detonation of explosives and the throwing of projectiles pushed the car back, but the Belgian police intervened strongly at the end of the afternoon to disperse the participants. On the basis of lack of respect for sanitary proceduresAccording to the authorities.


Hundreds of people took part in a protest against the government’s sanitation measures on May 1.

Photo: REUTERS / Johanna Geron

Police used water cannons and tear gas, causing mass movements. And one person was injured during the intervention and two police officers. About 15 people were arrested, while around 100 people were still facing riot police around 8 PM local time.

On the Helsinki side, around 50 people were arrested during a demonstration to protest measures taken by the Finnish government to fight COVID-19. The police dispersed the demonstration, which gathered up to 300 people, in the center of the Finnish capital, and did not denounce any major incidents.

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Public gatherings of more than six people have been banned in Helsinki due to the epidemic caused by the Coronavirus, and the organizers announced a demonstration of six people.

In total, approximately 50 people were arrested for refusing to comply with the authorities’ orders. Finland and its population of 5.5 million have one of the best records in Europe when it comes to COVID-19.

In Sweden, between 500 and 600 people demonstrated on the streets of Stockholm for Freedom and truth. The demonstration lasted for more than two hours, despite the police intervention to disperse it.

In contrast to measures imposed on a large scale elsewhere in Europe, Sweden initially implemented a strategy based mainly on recommendations, without containment and almost without coercive measures.

However, the Scandinavian kingdom tightened the screws since November due to a major second wave, with a series of measures restricting public gatherings and tables in restaurants.