May Day brings labour unrest to fore
May Day rallies the world over on Friday brought to the fore the unrest prevailing among the employees. Turkish police discharged tear gas and water cannon at hundreds of stone-throwing May Day demonstrators on Friday, after they ignored a ban and tried to march on Istanbul’s Taksim Square.
Europe’s biggest city was under a security lockdown as thousands of police manned barricades and closed streets to stop protests at Taksim, a historic rallying ground for leftists that saw weeks of trouble in 2013. Experts say President Tayyip Erdogan and the government have become more authoritarian in the buildup to June elections.
In Seoul, workers clashed with riot police at a May Day rally, vowing to wage an “all-out general strike” if the government pushes through with planned worker reforms. Thousands of protest police erected barricades to seize about 10,000 labors from marching toward the office of President Park Geun-Hye.
The police fired water mortar laced with a chemical irritant in scattered clashes with some marchers who tried to force their way through barricades in a tense three-hour standoff on the roads leading to Park’s office.
Everywhere in Asia, dozens of protesters in Taiwan threw smoke bombs near the presidential office during a workers’ rally, while in Hong Kong domestic helpers were out in force to seek greater rights.