Coronavirus lockdowns scale back to the May Day rally

HONG KONG (AFP) – Workers are forced to return to May Day rallies around the world on Friday (May 1) because of coronavirus lockdowns, though some have pushed online events and others have been hit by the street with face masks.

The traditional celebration of the workers’ movement has usually attracted millions of people in loud and loud marches in the streets – and occasionally violent confrontations with the police force.

This year the date carries much significance after the outbreak of Covid-19 that sent the global economy into a historic tailspin and placed unprecedented numbers of people out of work.

But with strong social travel rules to stop the spread of disease, labor leaders have chosen to postpone public gatherings or move events online.

In France still under lockdown, workers mark the day on social networks or by calling from their balconies.

“This is an opportunity to meet the social demands that we have long been defending and that the crisis has been highlighted,” said Philippe Martinez, general secretary of the umbrella trade union CGT.

The Greek government has asked unions to delay public rallies for more than a week, but the leading union says the GSEE has called for a general strike to coincide with May Day.

HONG KONG (AFP) – Workers are forced to return to May Day rallies around the world on Friday (May 1) because of coronavirus lockdowns, though some have pushed online events and others have been hit by the street with face masks.

The traditional celebration of the workers’ movement has usually attracted millions of people in loud and loud marches in the streets – and occasionally violent confrontations with the police force.

This year the date carries much significance after the outbreak of Covid-19 that sent the global economy into a historic tailspin and placed unprecedented numbers of people out of work.

But with strong social travel rules to stop the spread of disease, labor leaders have chosen to postpone public gatherings or move events online.

In France still under lockdown, workers mark the day on social networks or by calling from their balconies.

“This is an opportunity to meet the social demands that we have long been defending and that the crisis has been highlighted,” said Philippe Martinez, general secretary of the umbrella trade union CGT.

The Greek government has asked unions to delay public rallies for more than a week, but the leading union says the GSEE has called for a general strike to coincide with May Day.

It also encouraged demonstrators to “raise their fists and salute” health workers and other professionals who help maintain supplies and telecoms.

Portugal’s main CGTP trade union confederation is planning a gathering of union leaders at the extensive esplanade where their traditional Labor Day ends each year.

The group said they would stand four meters away from each other and wave flags and placards.

Indonesia’s trade unions have called for an online protest against a pro-business Bill aimed at simplifying the disappearances, after calling for street rallies.

The Confederation of Indonesia Trade Unions has also organized drive donations to buy face masks for factory workers and food for workers fired in the fall of the coronavirus.

‘WE WANT TO MAKE CREATIVE’

In Finland, labor rallies have traditionally been preceded by large community picnics at the biggest public gatherings of the year.

But only a small number of revelers gathered around the statue of Manta in the market square, the traditional festival center that this year was aboard and ruled by police enforcing the ban on groups of more than ten people.

Authorities encouraged the Finns to celebrate online this year, with several restaurants across the capital offering live wine streams or cocktail lessons, and serving traditional May Day food for delivery of the house.

“We need to get creative and try and find new ways we can still mix and create,” Helsinki restaurateur Filippo Phoumsavanh told AFP.

Not all members of the public are listening to the restrictions at public gatherings, with Hong Kong police rioting ahead of a planned rally of pro-democracy protesters.

The semi-autonomous financial hub was boosted by seven months of violent protests last year, undermining its reputation for stability and leaving the city completely divided.

Small protests have dropped again this past week and activists hope to use May Day to muster the numbers one more time.

And in the Philippines, police say they detained at least three people as small groups of protesters rode in empty pots and held placards calling for government assistance and safe conditions of working, combating bans in public gatherings.

Nearly 23 million people – nearly a quarter of the country’s population – face hunger because of “unemployment, unpaid” provisions in their employment contracts but face arrest for violating quarantine restrictions, Jerome Adonis of the federation of Mayo First Movement labor told AFP.

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