May Day News from Around the World

Revolutionary Worker #1054, May 14, 2000

As we go to press, scattered accounts have reached us--mainly through the bourgeois press--of May First struggles around the world. There are not yet any reports of May First actions in the zones of Maoist people's war in Peru and Nepal, or by armed Maoist fighters in Turkey, India and the Philippines.

Here are a few reports:

In southern Korea, tens of thousands of workers rallied in downtown Seoul, and police fought with students trying to leave their campus to unite with the workers. Police attacked with water cannon. The students and workers responded with rocks and street-fighting.

In the Philippines there was a large May First rally in Manila--where police and demonstrators clashed outside the Malacanang presidential palace. Police reportedly used water cannons to attack the people.

Berlin, Germany: Major street fighting was reported on May First, including at a revolutionary May Day action in the proletarian Kreuzberg District--where large numbers of proletarian immigrants from Turkey and Kurdistan live. The bourgeois press reported that 5,000 marched through Kreuzberg. During the street fighting, the masses reportedly built street barricades and hospitalized at least 30 cops. There were reports of hundreds of May Day fighters being arrested. During the days leading to May First, a reporter asked a Chinese shopkeeper if she had anything to say about the coming May Day events. She answered that "Yes, I would like to ask the police to stay away from my store windows, because stones fly wherever they stand."

In Hamburg, Germany, street fighting on May First lasted late into the night. Twenty-one police officers were reported injured and 134 people arrested.

In London, powerful anti-capitalist protests of about 10,000 people stirred intense controversy and were publicly attacked by British Prime Minister Tony Blair. May First actions focused on denouncing international corporate capitalism and its brutal robbery of third world peoples. Riot police tried to pen in thousands of May First marchers, and they fought back. Press photos documented intense police brutality in the street fighting. A McDonald's restaurant was reportedly trashed in central London. And someone creatively decorated a British imperialist war monument and a statue of arch-imperialist Winston Churchill (who, according to one account, was given a spray-painted hammer and sickle on his coat and a mohawk hairdo made of lawn turf.)

In Brazil, there was a May First strike of truck drivers and protests by tens of thousands of working people against worsening conditions; the next day was a wave of land invasions and protests by landless peasants.

In Cambodia, 1,000 garment workers reportedly marched on May First against the brutal conditions in the country's growing sweatshop districts. These garment workers barely earn a dollar a day--and targeted both government offices and foreign embassies in their protest.

In Turkey's capital, there was an anti-government rally of tens of thousands denouncing the International Monetary Fund (IMF)--which is imposing large-scale privatization and cutting of social programs in Turkey. Thousands also demonstrated against IMF demands in Indonesia.

In Ecuador's capital Quito, 20,000 workers and students marched through the streets denouncing the imperialist plan to impose the U.S. dollar as the country's official currency.

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