Today is the start of May of 2009. May 1 is also dubbed as “May Day.” One can ask: What is the significance of this one special day? This is a day that occurs on the first of every May. This tends to be referred to many different public holidays. This is also known as either “International Workers’ Day” or “Labour Day" (different day from when the holiday is celebrated in the United States).
One could say that there are many different inspirations for May Day. According to Wikipedia, one such influence for May Day would be the Haymarket Affair at Haymarket Square in Chicago, Illinois back in 1886. This was something that gained international recognition. Another Wikipedia article explains that International Workers’ Day was commemorated because of the Haymarket Massacre.
Regardless, countries across the world are celebrating. However, there are demonstrations that have turned rather violent. In an Associated Press article, it explains that police and demonstrators clashing in Turkey, Germany, and Greece. In the case of Germany, at least forty-eight officers were injured. Police in Greece had to use flash grenades.
Due to the condition of the global economy, there is much reason to celebrate and demonstrate on May Day. Also in the AP article, demonstrators across France are protesting in anger on the conservative government. With the case of Russia, police clashed against Communists and leftists from the Kremlin. In Italy, May Day rallies took place of L’Aquilla that was recently affected by an earthquake.
A New York Times article touches ground on the May Day celebrations in France. It would seem that many are angry at the way French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s administration has handled the economic crisis. So far, the number of protesters is a very large one.
A Voice of America article explains the situation in Turkey and Germany. It goes a bit more in-depth than what the AP article has explained. In those two countries, police and demonstrators had clashed with each other. This is also confirmed in a Reuters article on the May Day demonstrations.
Another VOA article explains that Zimbabweans are celebrating May Day for the first time. Zimbabwe is a country marred in economic chaos. There are concerns that tensions could escalate. Around 2008, Zimbabwe was plunged into chaos regarding the elections and the cholera outbreak. President Robert Mugabe was blamed for the crisis. However, he shrugged off the blame and said that there was a Western plot against him.
A Los Angeles Times article explains that there are several marches scheduled today in the city in commemoration of May Day. In this respect, demonstrations will be in regards for the legalization of illegal immigrants. Overall, these protests will bring up the heated topic of immigration rights.
Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro used May Day to take a few pot shots at United States President Barack Obama as explains in an AFP article. Despite stepping down as Cuba’s President, Castro is still the country’s Communist Party leader. This is in respect to past and current US-Cuba relations. Specific topics were touched upon such as: terrorism, Gitmo, and the US embargo on Cuba.
A UPI.com article reports that in Japan, the Japanese Trade Union Conference held its 80th May Day rally in Tokyo. So far, the number of those attending the rally is in the five figures. It also reports that the Bank of England got targeted by protesters in London.
An AHN article coincides with what the LA Times articles says about protestors across the United States marching in support for immigration reform.
A Monsters and Critics article explains that there is not much to celebrate in the case of Asia. It explains how the rate of employment is rising in places such as Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. In the case of Vietnam, the rate is estimated to be five times as bigger.
A Jerusalem Post article talks about another May Day massacre. This is in respects to the death of Yosef Haim Brenner, a forefather of modern Hebrew literature. He died on May 2, 1921. This article uses May Day and the death of Brenner to bring up Jewish-Arab tensions.
Overall with everything that is factored together, May Day 2009 can be quite interesting. Many across the world are celebrating May Day for the same reasons. At the same time, they are demonstrating across the streets for different reasons. In Asia and Europe, it is pretty much for the same reasons. In the case of the United States, it is tied with the issue of immigration rights. In Israel, it is a perfect time to bring up Brenner’s death.