A look at May Day moods around the world

May 1, 2012, 7:48 PM

(AP) – From Asia to Europe to the U.S., Tuesday’s May Day marches were less a celebration of workers’ rights and more an expression of national moods. From gloom to optimism to celebration, here is a look:

SPAIN: Deep gloom.

Tens of thousands of Spanish protesters joined demonstrations, weary after two years of deep spending cuts and tax hikes, sky-high unemployment and no end in sight to austerity. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is trying desperately to cut a bloated deficit, restore investor confidence and fend off fears that Spain will need an international bailout. “I am here because there is no future for the young people of this country,” said Adriana Jaime, a 25-year-old marcher.

FRANCE: Optimism.

In France, tens of thousands of workers, leftists and union members held boisterous rallies ahead of presidential elections Sunday that a Socialist is expected to win for the first time since 1988. Many voters fear incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy will erode France’s welfare and see him as too friendly with the wealthy. “Sarkozy has allowed himself for too long to manhandle the lower classes,” said 24-year-old Dante Leonardi. “Today we must show … that we want him to leave.”

GREECE: Uncertainty.

The mood was subdued in Greece, where more than 2,000 people marched through downtown Athens after nearly three years of sharp economic pain. Adding to the uncertainty: No party is expected to secure a governing majority in the election, and it remains unclear whether squabbling party leaders will be able to strike a power-sharing deal.

THE PHILIPPINES: Anger.

In the capital, Manila, more than 8,000 members of a labor alliance marched to a heavily barricaded bridge near the Malacanang presidential palace, which teemed with thousands of riot police. Other left-wing workers burned a huge effigy of President Benigno Aquino III, depicting him as a lackey of the United States and big business.

TUNISIA: Celebration.

Thousands of Tunisians marked May Day by reveling in the new freedoms won from their Arab Spring revolution. May Day gatherings were tightly controlled in previous years under the rule of the country’s autocratic president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. But this time, people were free to celebrate. Some 25,000 revelers _ from union members to Islamists to whole families _ poured onto the capital’s main thoroughfare. The crowd appeared to be even larger than the one that flooded Avenue Bourguiba on Jan. 14, 2011, the day Ben Ali flew into exile in Saudi Arabia.

UNITED STATES: Reviving a movement.

The anti-Wall Street groups collectively known as the Occupy Movement planned demonstrations, strikes and acts of civil disobedience across the nation. In New York City, the birthplace of the movement, organizers called for picket lines and a march through Manhattan, as well as blocking one or more bridges or tunnels connecting the city’s economic engine to New Jersey and elsewhere. In Los Angeles, at least a half-dozen rallies were planned. In Atlanta, immigration activists rallied against a law targeting illegal immigration enacted last year. Rallies were also planned in Chicago and Minneapolis.

RUSSIA: Pro-government.

Around 100,000 people _ including President Dmitry Medvedev and President-elect Vladimir Putin _ marched in Moscow to support the government. The two leaders happily chatted with participants and many banners criticized Russia’s opposition movement. One read “Spring has come, the swamp has dried up,” referring to Bolotnaya (Swampy) Square, the site of some of the largest opposition demonstrations.

CANADA: Worry.

Government workers marched on Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office in downtown Ottawa to protest budget cuts, the elimination of thousands of jobs and proposed tuition hikes. In Toronto, Members of Occupy Toronto say they are planning an evening march to an as yet undisclosed “re-occupation” site, which they plan to take over for 24 hours. Activists urged people to call in sick Tuesday and attend the events.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

United States News

Demonstrators block traffic protesting the death of Tyre Nichols on January 27, 2023 in Memphis, Te...
Associated Press

Memphis police chief disbands unit responsible in beating of Tyre Nichols

The unit is composed of three teams of about 30 officers and had been inactive since Tyre Nichols' Jan. 7 arrest.
23 hours ago
The image from video released on Jan. 27, 2023, by the City of Memphis, shows Tyre Nichols on the g...
Associated Press

Memphis authorities release video in Tyre Nichols’ death

Video showing Memphis officers beating a Black man was made public Friday after they were charged with murder in the death of Tyre Nichols.
2 days ago
Demonstrators stage a rally in front of the White House to celebrate President Joe Biden's plan to ...
Kevin Stone

Lawsuits keeping over 300,000 Arizonans from getting student loan relief

Lawsuits are preventing more than 300,000 Arizonans from having some or all of their student debt dismissed, the Biden administration said Friday.
2 days ago
FILE -  A Goodyear tire sits on display at a tire shop on Feb. 12, 2014, in South Euclid, Ohio. A f...
Associated Press

Arizona lawyer subpoenaed in criminal investigation of Goodyear tires

A federal grand jury in Los Angeles is gathering evidence in a criminal investigation of Goodyear recreational vehicle tires.
3 days ago
Following days of rain, floodwaters cover streets in the Planada community of Merced County, Calif....
Associated Press

Atmospheric rivers in California boost water allocation for cities

Public water agencies in California will be getting more water from the state because of recent heavy rain.
3 days ago
(Brian Munoz/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP, File)...
Associated Press

FDA declines to regulate CBD; calls on Congress for fix

The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday there are too many unknowns about CBD products to regulate them as foods or supplements under the agency’s current structure and called on Congress to create new rules for the massive and growing market. The marijuana-derived products have become increasingly popular in lotions, tinctures and foods, while their […]
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
A look at May Day moods around the world