Trade unions stage protests, clash with cops on May Day

The Associated Press

Trade unions and other groups are staging rallies around the world to mark International Workers Day.

A look at some May Day events:

Philippines

In Manila, about 2,000 left-wing protesters scuffled with riot policemen, who used shields and a water cannon to try to prevent the flag-waving demonstrators from getting near the U.S. Embassy.

Labor leaders said 20 protesters were injured.

Some of the protesters managed to break through the police cordon. TV video showed some of them punching a retreating police officer and using wooden poles to hit a fire truck.

Police made no arrests and the protesters dispersed after about two hours.

May Day rallies were held across the Philippines, with campaigning entering the final week ahead of the May 9 presidential election. Some of the candidates pledged to address labor complaints.

“We’ll see the real color and what will become to the sweet promises when one of them sits as president,” left-wing labor leader Elmer Labog said.

France

Fearing France’s worker protections are under threat, hundreds of angry youths on the sidelines of a May Day labor rally hurled stones and wood at police in Paris, receiving repeated bursts of tear gas in response.

Trade unions, teenagers, pensioners and families held nearly 300 largely peaceful marches Sunday in Paris and cities around the country. The traditional May Day rallies took on greater weight this year as parliament is debating a bill that would allow longer working hours and let companies lay workers off more easily.

The bill has prompted the most violent labor-related protests in a decade, with marches and sit-ins frequently degenerating into clashes with police.

Riot police encircled a few hundred suspected troublemakers on the sidelines of the Paris march Sunday, and frustrated youth threw projectiles. Later, protesters set fires at a subway entrance and around the Republique plaza that has become a rallying point.

Nationwide two people were injured and 18 arrested, according to the Interior Ministry. Marchers held banners calling President Francois Hollande a “traitor.”

Turkey

Thousands of Turkish demonstrators rallied for May Day in an authorized area of Istanbul while police cracked down on other protests.

Police used tear gas and water cannons on demonstrators trying to reach Taksim Square. One man died after being hit by a water cannon vehicle.

Taksim has symbolic meaning as the center of protests in which 34 people were killed on May Day in 1977.

Tensions are running high in Turkey after a string of deadly suicide bombings linked to either Kurdish or Islamic State group militants.

In the capital, Ankara, police rounded up four suspected IS members who were allegedly planning to attack May Day demonstrators.

May Day marches were held elsewhere in Turkey without incident but were canceled in the southern city of Gaziantep after a deadly car bombing on a police station.

In the coastal city of Izmir, some demonstrators stripped down in protest over police body searches

Brazil

Embattled Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff used a May Day appearance in Sao Paulo to rally support against efforts to impeach her.

The president announced to tens of thousands of backers that she will beef up a flagship social program, reduce the impact of income tax on the middle class and build another 25,000 new low-price homes.

A key vote on her impeachment proceedings is scheduled within two weeks in the Senate.

Meanwhile, at an anti-Rousseff rally, union leader Paulinho da Forca called the president’s announcements “desperate measures.”

United States

In the U.S., hundreds of marchers in Los Angeles chanted slogans and carried signs on May Day, with at least one person carrying a pinata replica of controversial Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

The marchers took to the streets calling for immigrant and worker rights and decrying what they see as hateful presidential campaign rhetoric.

Demonstrators repeatedly called out Trump for his remarks about immigrants, workers and women.

The leading Republican presidential contender has called for a wall on the border with Mexico and chided Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton for playing the so-called “woman card.”