- Associated Press - Sunday, May 1, 2011

BERLIN | Activists flooded a central plaza in Turkey’s largest city Sunday as marchers around the world demanded more jobs, better working conditions and higher wages on international workers’ day.

About 200,000 workers gathered in Istanbul’s Taksim Square in the largest May Day rally there since 1977, when at least 34 people died and more than 100 were injured after a shooting triggered a stampede. Turkish unions weren’t allowed back until last year.

Across Germany, some 420,000 people took to the streets to demand fair wages, better working conditions and sufficient social security, the country’s unions umbrella group DGB said.

Union group head Michael Sommer said the high turnout was a clear message to the government that it should give up its refusal to introduce a minimum wage.

In Cuba, hundreds of thousands of people marched through Havana and other cities to mark May Day in a demonstration touted as a vast show of support for economic changes recently approved by the Communist Party.

In South Korea, police said 50,000 rallied in Seoul for better labor protections. They also urged the government to contain rising inflation, a growing concern across much of Asia, where food and oil prices have been spiking.

Thousands of workers also marched in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines to vent their anger over the rising cost of living and growing disparities between the rich and poor.

Chinese flocked to Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to watch the daily flag-raising ceremony.

In the Philippines, about 3,000 workers demanding higher wages held a protest in a Manila square that included setting afire the effigy of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III grinning in a luxury car. Mr. Aquino was criticized this year for buying a secondhand Porsche in a country where a third of people live on a dollar a day.

In Taiwan, about 2,000 people rallied in Taipei to protest the widening income gap and to demand their government create better work conditions. About 3,000 people in Hong Kong took part in a Sunday morning protest while 5,000 others were expected at an afternoon rally, local media reports said, citing union organizers.

In Spain, where unemployment has reached a eurozone high of 21.3 percent, several thousand people gathered in the eastern port city of Valencia and protested the government’s failure to create new jobs.

In Moscow, up to 5,000 Communists and members of other leftist groups marched through the city carrying a sea of red flags to celebrate their traditional holiday, which in Soviet times was known as the Day of International Solidarity of Workers.

Since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, the holiday has been known as the Day of Spring and Labor.



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