TORONTO – Thousands in cities around the world are planning a series of rallies and marches to mark International Worker’s Day today.
Low-paid workers rallied in the streets Wednesday to demand better pay and improved working conditions a week after a Bangladesh building collapse that was a grim reminder of how lax safety regulations make work a danger in poor countries.
Labourers in Indonesia, Cambodia, the Philippines, Turkey and other countries marched and chanted en masse Wednesday. They sounded complaints about being squeezed by big business amid the surging cost of living.
Thousands of garment factory workers in Bangladesh also paraded through the streets screaming for safeguards to be put in place and for the owner of the collapsed building to be punished.
Tens of thousands are also expected to rally in dozens of cities from New York to Bozeman, Mont., in what has become an annual cry for easing the nation’s immigration laws.
Here’s a look at May Day rallies around the world:
Bangladeshi activists shout slogans and wave flags during a procession to mark May Day or International Worker’s Day in Dhaka on May 1, 2013. Getty Images
Bangladeshi activists shout slogans and wave flags during a procession to mark International Worker’s Day in Dhaka on May 1, 2013. Getty Images
Members of of the pro-government Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM) attend an official May Day rally in Minsk, on May 1, 2013. Getty Images
Police in Istanbul are clashing with protesters trying to reach the city’s main square to mark May Day despite a government ban.
The government, citing security reasons, banned a rally on Istanbul’s Taksim Square, which is undergoing major renovations. Subways, some buses and even ferries across the Bosporus were suspended to prevent large groups from gathering on the square.
Police fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of demonstrators trying to break through barricades to access the square on Wednesday.
The Istanbul governor’s office said at least two demonstrators were detained.
Watch video of May Day protesters clashing with police in Turkey below:
Activists of the French CGT labour union hold a banner claiming for social progress as they parade on the ‘Promenade des Anglais’ as part of the May Day rallies on May 1, 2013 in Nice, southeastern France. Getty Images
People demonstrate during the workers parade as part of the May Day rallies on May 1, 2013 in Rennes, western France. Getty Images
Protesters, mostly workers, dance around the burning effigies of U.S. President Barack Obama and Philippine President Benigno Aquino III during a rally near the Presidential Palace to mark May Day Wednesday, May 1, 201,3 in Manila, Philippines. AP Photo
Office workers climb an overpass to cross Jakarta’s main thoroughfare as May Day demonstrators march to the Presidential Palace during a demonstartion on May 1, 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Tens of thousands of workers and labour activists marched through Jakarta’s central business district, demanding the implementation of higher minimum wages and better working conditions. Getty Images
A railway man holds a banner as other members of the Czech opposition Communist (KSCM) party clap as they celebrate May Day on May 1, 2013 in Prague, Czech Republic.Getty Images