May Day unity on display: Hundreds of thousands rally worldwide (FESTIVE PHOTOS)
Countries throughout the world are celebrating May Day, also referred to as International Labor Day. In Russia, the holiday is marked in every big city. In the capital alone, an estimated 120,000 people have shown up.
The holiday is being marked worldwide, starting in the east and following the sun around the globe.
In Asia, May Day has gone beyond its roots as an international workers' holiday to a day of international protest. Thousands marched in Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan and other countries demanding wage increases and better working conditions.
In Manila, the Philippines, protesters burnt an effigy of the country’s President Benigno Aquino III during a rally near the Presidential Palace.
The holiday is also widely celebrated in much of Europe. Great Britain, France, Germany, Spain and Greece are holding rallies.
In France, May Day comes just five days before the second and decisive presidential round. Media reports suggest leftists, rightist Union for a Popular Movement and National Front have been holding an indirect battle in the streets of the French capital as they gathered for rival rallies.
More than 2,000 Greeks marked the May Day holiday with massive strikes and rallies against tough austerity measures in return for IMF and EU loans. The country’s railways are among those holding a 24-hour strike. They are joined by public transport employees and sea port workers.
There were brief clashes between protesters and riot police in the Greek capital as well as the Italian city of Turin, but for the most part, global May Day activities have been peaceful.
Massive rallies are also planned in more than 100 US cities on Tuesday, as labor, immigration and Occupy activists are set to gather in support of the international workers' holiday.
Historically, May 1st – International Workers' Day – came into being in memory of workers' demonstrations that took place in Chicago in May 1886. May 1 is also recognized in the US as Law Day.