A look at May Day moods around the world
A look at some of the moods during May Day protests Tuesday around the world.
SPAIN: Deep gloom.
Tens of thousands of Spanish protesters joined demonstrations, weary after two years of deep spending cuts and tax hikes, sky-high 24 percent unemployment and no end in sight to austerity. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is trying desperately to cut a bloated deficit, restore investor confidence and fend off fears that Spain that will need an international bailout. "I am here because there is no future for the young people of this country," said Adriana Jaime, a 25-year-old marcher.
Around 100,000 people — including President Dmitry Medvedev and President-elect Vladimir Putin — marched in Moscow to support the government. The two leaders happily chatted with participants and many banners criticized Russia's opposition movement. One read "Spring has come, the swamp has dried up," referring to Bolotnaya (Swampy) Square, the site of some of the largest opposition demonstrations.
In France, tens of thousands of workers, leftists and union members marked May Day with boisterous rallies ahead of presidential elections Sunday that a Socialist is expected to win for the first time since 1988. Many voters fear incumbent President Nicolas Sarkozy will erode France's welfare and see him as too friendly with the wealthy. "Today we must show ... that we want him to leave," said Dante Leonardi, a 24-year-old marcher in Paris. Poll favorite Francois Hollande, a Socialist, has promised high taxes on the rich.
More than 2,000 Greeks marched through central Athens in a subdued May Day ahead of national elections Sunday after nearly three years of sharp economic pain. No party is expected to secure a governing majority in the election, and it remains unclear whether squabbling party leaders will be able to strike a power-sharing deal. Minor scuffles broke out in Athens when young men destroyed two political party stands and partially burned another.
THE PHILIPPINES: Anger.
In the capital, Manila, more than 8,000 members of a labor alliance marched to a heavily barricaded bridge near the Malacanang presidential palace, which teemed with thousands of riot police. Other left-wing workers burned a huge effigy of President Benigno Aquino III, depicting him as a lackey of the United States and big business