Workers all over the world participated in public rallies and demonstrations on May 1, 2012, voicing their resistance to the all-sided attacks on their rights. They reaffirmed their resolve to put an end to the capitalist system and establish in its place a system free from all forms of exploitation.
May Day demonstrations and rallies were held in all the major cities across Europe.
Huge rallies were held in London, at Trafalgar Square and Times Square as well as meetings and demonstrations in other parts of the city. Rallies were also held in other parts of Britain. Workers from diverse sectors of the economy raised banners and slogans upholding trade union rights and other rights won by them over decades of struggle, which are now under attack. They opposed the imperialist aggression and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq and the war plans against Iran.
In Paris workers marched in defence of their rights, in solidarity with the working people all over the world and in opposition to imperialist war. They were joined by immigrant workers, protesting against the unjust anti immigrant laws that lead to deportation and separation of families of the working people. In another action in Paris, demonstrators organized to close down a branch of a leading multinational bank, in protest against the government’s bail-out of the big banks. Students, unemployed youth, women and homeless people, all joined the May Day demonstrations to voice their demands.
In Greece thousands of workers held rallies and strike actions expressing the growing anger and frustration among Greeks against the government’s repeated rounds of ‘austerity measures’, which are reported to be leading to severe cuts in wages and pensions, in a recession that is now into its fifth year. In Athens buses, trains and the subway came to a standstill as transport workers staged a 24-hour strike, while Greek seamen held a four-hour stoppage. Public sector offices were shut and hospitals worked on emergency staff. Protest actions were organized in all major cities of Italy, Portugal and Spain, against the attacks on the rights of the workers in the name of ‘austerity’. In Madrid amid a dark national mood, demonstrators fearing that their country will soon have to go for a bail-out like Greece, mocked the Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy trying to give false hope to the many unemployed young people. May Day demonstrations and rallies were held in several cities of Germany including Berlin, Stuttgart, Nuremberg and Hamburg.
May Day 2012 saw huge demonstrations across all major cities of US. In New York City, from early morning until late into the night, people were on the streets in protest actions. Union Square was flooded with people while a huge march downtown ended in a massive demonstration at Water Street. Various forms of protests were organized across Manhattan. The main theme of the variety of protests was that the present system works only in favour of the super-rich 1% and the remaining 99% must unite to change it. Protestors expressed solidarity with the working and oppressed people the world over and denounced imperialist war. Tens of thousands of people took part in marches in Los Angeles, asking for changes in immigration laws and policies that attack immigrant workers, vowing to fight for the rights of all workers. May Day events were also organised in Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, Atlanta and many other cities.
In Canada, May Day events were organised in several cities across the country, from Montreal to Vancouver, from Toronto to Edmonton and many others. In Toronto, over 3,000 people attended a rally at City Hall and marched through the downtown streets to a park in the west end. Full rights for immigrants and refugees, workers' rights, opposition to the cuts to social programs and public services, and opposition to imperialist war and plunder were the main themes for the day. A group of Afghan women denounced imperialist aggression and war against the peoples of the world, in particular the US-NATO war against the Afghan people. In Vancouver, the demonstration marched through downtown Vancouver where it ended at the W2 centre in the downtown east side. Following this people participated in a public meeting on the significance of May Day and the situation facing the workers at this time. Vigorous May Day actions were reported in Windsor, Hamilton, Prince George, British Columbia, etc. Workers, teachers and hospital employees, students and youth, immigrants all participated shoulder to shoulder in the demonstrations.
May Day events were organised in several towns of Russia. Nearly 100,000 people participated in a rally in the capital Moscow and marched across central Moscow from Kaluzhskaya Square to Theatre Square. In the Ukrainian capital Kiev, over 6,000 people took part in an event that ended in Tverskaya Square. Many groups boycotted the May Day program organized by the government and expressed their opposition to the government by organizing a “march of the millions” on May 6.
Hundreds of thousands of people participated in the traditional May Day festivities organised in Cuba, affirming the solidarity of working people all over the globe and the Cuban peoples’ solid determination to strengthen their own system in opposition to the US and other imperialists. Massive May Day rallies were held all across Latin America, from Caracas in Venezuela to La Paz in Bolivia, from Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Santiago in Chile.
May Day was enthusiastically celebrated all across Asia, from Korea to Palestine.
In the Philippines some workers burned an effigy of President Aquino in Manila near the presidential palace, blaming him directly for the problems in the country, depicting him as an agent of big business and the US. In Indonesia thousands of protesting workers demanding higher wages paraded through the main streets of the capital, Jakarta, where 16,000 police and soldiers had been deployed to ward off the protests. Protest actions and May Day rallies were held in Taiwan, Malaysia and Hong Kong, in India, Bangladesh, and many other countries. The common feature of the rallies was the solidarity of working people and their resolve to oppose the attacks of the capitalists and their governments on the working people.
Workers all over the world are increasingly coming to realize that the capitalist system of exploitation is the source of all their problems, that imperialism is the source of war and devastation, and are expressing their resolve to end this system and seize control of their destiny.