May Day is starting off in a very demonstrative or protesting fashion! On May 1st, people around the world are celebrating the “International Workers Day,” especially in Moscow and Istanbul.
In Moscow, 100,000 people from political parties and NGOs marched through Red Square to celebrate May Day. This is the first time the annual parade has been held on the vast cobblestone square outside the Kremlin state since the autumn of 1991 Soviet Union.
According to ABC News, the May Day Russian celebration is keeping with Soviet-era traditions by having it organized by trade unions and honoring the working man. It also celebrated Russia’s annexation of Crimea and was seen as part of President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to stoke the fires of patriotism within the country. Marchers held up signs that read “Let’s go to Crimea for vacation” and “Putin is right.” Russian flags also fluttered in the breeze throughout the crowd, and May Day looked like a real celebration, similar to the US Fourth of July.
However, there are topics of a serious nature too, as shown in a similar report by ITAR-TASS. The people during the May Day demonstration, mostly members from A Just Russia party, will present certain specific ideals such as decent wages for decent work, a new progressive taxation system for submitting “the tariffs under people’s control”, and the demand to release political prisoners in Ukraine. The May Day celebration also paid their respects to the citizens of Crimea.
However, not all of the May Day celebrations around the world were peaceful or even progressive. In Istanbul, Turkey, thousands of demonstrators took to the streets on Thursday. The people lashed out against the government mired in a corruption scandal and accused of creeping authoritarianism. The local authorities did not take kindly to the protests as police fired tear gas and blasted water cannons to disperse the hundreds in the May Day protest crowds at Taksim Square.
According to New York Times, May Day has been an amplifier for violence in Turkey historically. The people, especially in Istanbul, have used May Day to convey their grievances since May 1st became a national holiday back in 2009. Most of the grievances are against the administration of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Anger from the people has grown during recent months because the government is now plunged into a state of crisis thanks to the corruption scandal.
There are other May Day celebrations and protests around the world, but the above two – Russia because of their recent involvement in Crimea and Ukraine, and Turkey for their history of violence – are prominently viewed.
If you want to view live streams of the protests at Istanbul, you may do so at the Hurriyet Daily News, where they have exclusive live streams.
[Images via Bing]