Latest Stories

May Day rallies decry austerity, ‘slave labor’

Women protesters shout slogans calling for better working conditions for garment workers during a May Day rally on Wednesday May 1, 2013 in Dhaka, Bangladesh. AP PHOTO/WONG MAYE-E

MADRID , Spain—Greek workers angry at austerity brought Athens to a standstill on Wednesday as May Day rallies around the world saw tens of thousands in Bangladesh protest poor labor conditions and violence flare in Turkey.

In Dhaka, protesters held red banners and flags chanting “Hang the killers, Hang the Factory Owners” after the devastating collapse of a garment factory, as rescuers warned the final toll could be more than 500.

At a mass in the Vatican, Pope Francis condemned as “slave labor” the work conditions of the victims of the collapse, who were making clothes destined for high street retailers in the West.

Police put the number of protesters at the main rally at more than 20,000, and there were smaller-scale protests elsewhere in the Bangladeshi capital and in other cities.

In Turkey’s biggest city Istanbul, police fired tear gas and water cannon at stone-throwing protesters trying to gather for a banned demonstration.

Clashes erupted in three neighborhoods leading to Taksim Square—a traditional hub for leftist May Day protests—where the authorities had blocked off the streets.

“Death to fascism. Long live May 1,” shouted the protesters who were rallying to calls of defiance from leftist parties and unions.

The Turkish government had banned May Day gatherings on the square blaming renovations.

Amid the scuffles, the Istanbul office of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was barricaded and defended by dozens of policemen backed by anti-riot armored vehicles.

By midday tension had abated and the protesters slowly dispersed as protests in other parts of the massive Turkish city went without incident.

Stopped ferry services

In neighboring Greece, a strike stopped ferry services and disrupted public transport in Athens as workers went on the march against austerity in a country where the jobless rate reached 27.2 percent in January.

Police said 13,000 protesters had assembled in Athens and Thessaloniki.

Unusually, hard-pressed businesses stayed open to allow for shopping in the run-up to Orthodox Easter on Sunday.

Greece is caught in its sixth year of recession and has become an emblem of the painful costs of austerity policies imposed by Brussels on bailed out eurozone members.

In Spain, where the government has so far managed to avoid a full-blown international rescue, unions called for 82 protests across the country.

Spanish unemployment is at a record 27.16 percent and union UGT called on workers “to make perfectly evident the total failure of the austerity policies … which in our country is confirmed in the facts.”

Unions in France, the second-biggest economy in the eurozone, marched divided with union leaders in disagreement over government efforts to make the French work code more flexible.

French unemployment has hit a record 3.2 million people and the party of extreme rightist Marine Le Pen, which also traditionally marches on May 1, called out for a light of hope in a France “locked in the darkness of Europe.”

As recession continues to sap the eurozone and wider EU, the Eurostat data agency Tuesday reported unemployment across the eurozone climbed for the 23rd consecutive month—hitting a record 12.1 percent in March.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis urged political leaders to fight unemployment in a sweeping critique of “selfish profit.”

“Not paying fairly, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking at how to make a profit. That goes against God!” he said in his strongly worded address.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: May 1 demos , May Day , Protests , rallies

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. Kim Henares needs a reprimand, says Cayetano
  2. ‘No real progress in PH if dynasties not dismantled’
  3. More legal woes for Cedric Lee
  4. Massive infra spending set
  5. OFW brings MERS virus to Philippines
  6. DOJ to NBI: Arrest Cedric Lee, 4 others
  7. Cardinal Tagle to faithful: Join politics to clean it
  8. Estrada, Gigi Reyes denied access to evidence from other respondents
  9. Lacson’s wife loses diamond earring to thieves but recovers jewelry quickly with police arrest
  10. DOJ orders arrest of Cedric Lee
  1. Suspect in Vhong Navarro mauling tries to leave PH
  2. MH370 co-pilot made mid-flight phone call – report
  3. Netizens cry: 6/55 Lotto was rigged
  4. I’ll follow my conscience on Estrada, says JV Ejercito
  5. ‘Wife of Jesus’ theory papyrus not fake – Harvard study
  6. Fr. Suarez says last Mass on Easter before returning donated land to San Miguel
  7. Gay college instructor arrested for oral sex with student
  8. ‘King’ Yabut and I: Driver bares Makati dad ‘abuses’
  9. It was difficult having Japanese blood
  10. Palace: We can’t blame increase in population on Vitangcol
  1. KL confirms Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 ended in Indian Ocean
  2. MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-old Ashley
  3. Pork payoffs to newscasters Erwin Tulfo, Del Prado, others bared
  4. UP back on top as ‘average’ student aces bar
  5. Rookie, lady cops lauded for quick response to MOA heist
  6. Model Helena Belmonte wished ‘to slash her wrist and hope to die’
  7. Malaysia averts another air tragedy; pilot lands troubled plane safely
  8. Revilla says he was joking; Lacson stands by his story
  9. Revilla ‘consulted’ Lacson on how he evaded arrest
  10. Police rule out foul play in Helena Belmonte’s death as boyfriend is ‘traumatized’


  • Henares on Pacquiao bashing: I did not start this
  • Drilon, Nancy Binay urge Filipinos to strengthen faith
  • ‘Yolanda’ toll now at 6,300 – NDRRMC
  • ‘Mom, I love you,’ says text from student on sinking ferry
  • Moderate earthquake jolts southern Iran
  • Sports

  • Power Pinays smash India in Asian Women’s Club volleyball opener
  • PH youth boxers off to stumbling start in AIBA World tilt
  • Durant has 42, Thunder beat Pistons 112-111
  • Walker leads Bobcats over Bulls in OT, 91-86
  • Man City slips further out of title contention
  • Lifestyle

  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • This is not just a farm
  • Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  • Moist, extra-tender blueberry muffins
  • Entertainment

  • Will Arnett files for divorce from Amy Poehler
  • American rapper cuts own penis, jumps off building
  • Jay Z to bring Made in America music fest to LA
  • Why Lucky has not bought an engagement ring for Angel
  • Derek more private with new girlfriend
  • Business

  • World stocks subdued, Nikkei flat on profit taking
  • Asia stocks fail to match Wall Street gains
  • Fired Yahoo exec gets $58M for 15 months of work
  • PH presses bid to keep rice import controls
  • PSEi continues to gain
  • Technology

  • Netizens seething in anger over Aquino ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Filipinos #PrayForSouthKorea
  • Taylor Swift tries video blogging, crashes into fan’s bridal shower
  • DOF: Tagaytay, QC best at handling funds
  • Smart phone apps and sites perfect for the Holy Week
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Syria most dangerous country for journalists, PH 3rd—watchdog
  • Japan says visa-free entry still a plan
  • First Fil-Am elected to Sierra Madre, Calif. city council
  • UC Irvine cultural night to dramatize clash of values in immigrant family
  • Filipino sweets and info served at UC Berkeley Spring Fest
  • Marketplace