A million march in France as May Day sees workers rally across the world
AMILLION marched in France today as union-led May Day rallies warned President Emmanuel Macron to back down over plans to raise the retirement age.
Crowds banged pots and pans as they wound through Paris, with French trade unions calling “Everyone onto the streets” under the slogan “United with the People for the Withdrawal” of the hated pension reform, which Mr Macron forced through by decree because he could not get it through parliament.
Near the Place de la Republique, activists smashed pinatas representing Mr Macron and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
Organisers estimated that half a million marched in Paris, with huge rallies in many other cities and towns, including 130,000 in Marseille. Police fired tear gas at protesters in Lyon and clashes erupted in other cities.
Around the world May Day rallies highlighted galloping inflation and the need to raise pay. Over 70 May Day demos took place in Spain, with unions warning of “social conflict” if pay isn’t raised to match inflation.
Tens of thousands marched in Seoul, South Korea, chanting: “The price of everything has increased except for our wages. Increase our minimum wages! Reduce our working hours!”
In Tokyo, unions marched with opposition politicians and rally speakers slammed Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s plan to double the military budget, saying the money should be earmarked for social security and raising pay.
Giant demos took place in dozens of countries. In Lahore, Pakistan, marchers defied a ban on demonstrations to march on the Punjab Assembly; in Peshawar unions held a series of indoor events to get around the ban.
In Jakarta, workers slammed the Indonesian government’s Job Creation Law, which protester Sri Ajeng warned “only benefits employers, not workers.”
Communists led demonstrations in Moscow and Beirut, Lebanon, with the Beirut march including a block of migrant domestic workers demanding better pay and treatment.
In China, the five-day May Day holiday was the first since Covid reopening, with rail companies saying passenger journeys had broken all records — hitting 19.661 million journeys on Saturday, when the holiday began — and air, land and sea traffic up 152 per cent on a year earlier.