AFP, published on Sunday 01 May 2022 at 9:48 PM
Inflation caused claims to purchasing power to take center stage during the traditional May 1 demonstrations around the world on Sunday, which were marked by incidents in France and arrests in Turkey.
Incidents in Paris
In Paris, numerous clashes have pitted police against highly mobile groups of young people dressed in black.
According to an AFP journalist, about twenty brands, mainly McDonald’s, insurers, brokers or banks, have been damaged and a broken car. They also threw projectiles at the police, who tried to disperse them with tear gas. Eight firefighters were injured, the interior minister said.
Across France, 100,000 people marched, mostly without incident, in a highly politicized context following the April 24 re-election of President Emmanuel Macron, against far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Numerous arrests in Istanbul
Dozens of people were arrested in Istanbul, six days after the convictions of patron Osman Kavala and seven members of civil society accused of trying to overthrow the regime.
The governor’s services reported the arrest of 164 people who wanted to join the famous Taksim Square, the epicenter of the major 2013 anti-government protests, closed to traffic and parades.
Angry for the South African president
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has rushed out of May celebrations after angry miners raided the stage where he was due to speak at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenberg, north. The protesters, who shouted “Cyril must leave”, demanded an increase in wages.
Calls for the resignation of the Sri Lankan president
In Sri Lanka, hit by a violent economic crisis, the opposition unanimously demanded the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa during mass demonstrations.
“Go home Gota”, chanted tens of thousands of activists in Colombo.
Months of power outages, runaway inflation and severe shortages of food, fuel and medicines have sparked widespread anti-Rajapaksa protests since mid-March.
Purchasing power, the watchword in Athens
Thousands of people demonstrated in Athens demanding more measures to support purchasing power, despite inflation reaching 9.4% in Greece in April.
If the minimum wage is raised by EUR 50 to EUR 713 per month on May 1, this measure will be considered insufficient by the unions, who are demanding EUR 825.
… to Madrid
In Madrid, about 10,000 protesters, according to a government spokesman, marched to demand wage increases and anti-inflation measures. A large banner proclaimed: “May Day. The solution: raise wages, contain prices and increase equality.”
Other demonstrations took place across Spain and in Andorra, also highlighting the rise in the cost of living, the price of housing and the loss of purchasing power.
… and in Argentina
Two demonstrations took place in Buenos Aires: the first at the initiative of a Peronist group close to the government, which expressed its support for current policies, while advocating a more pronounced social focus in the face of inflation.
The other was initiated by organizations on the left of power to say no to debt repayment to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to demand a radical social shift and better wages.
…and in Honduras
In Honduras, President Xiomara Castro, who was in power for nearly 100 days, took part in an unprecedented way in a march of several thousand workers in San Pedro Sula, 180 km north of the capital Tegucigalpa.
The crowd chanted his name and burned the effigy of his predecessor Juan Orlando Hernández, who was extradited to the United States on April 21 to answer charges for drug trafficking after eight years at the head of the country.
Working for Peace” in Italy
In Italy, the main trade union federations had called for a meeting in Assisi (center), the city of Saint Francis, patron saint of Italy, on the theme of “Working for Peace” in the context of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “We absolutely must work to end this absurd war that Putin wanted,” said Cgil union leader Maurizio Landini, in front of several hundred activists.
Egg Throwing in Berlin
Berlin mayor Franziska Giffey was speaking at a rally in Berlin attended by 7,500 people according to media reports when a protester threw an egg at her. Her security service was able to protect her with an umbrella.
Several thousand people also marched in London, at the request of trade unions and environmental or social organizations such as Black Lives Matter (Black lives matter).
In Cuba, at the request of the government, hundreds of thousands of Cubans in masks marched to key cities at a time when the island is facing severe shortages and rising prices. After two years of incarceration related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the communist government had called on workers to participate in these parades and organize bus transport. The rally took place in Havana in the presence of President Miguel Diaz-Canel and revolutionary leader Raul Castro.