In Turkey, some 200,000 protesters flooded a central plaza in Istanbul, making it the largest May Day rally there since 1977, when at least 34 people died and more than 100 were injured after shooting triggered a stampede.
In Austria, more than 100,000 people peacefully took to the streets of Vienna, protest organizers said. Social Democratic Chancellor Werner Faymann promised social policies and warned against leaving too much room to financial speculation, Austrian news agency APA reported.
In New York, labor leaders from Wisconsin joined activists to march for the rights of America’s immigrants and workers. Immigration advocates latched onto the May Day tradition in 2006.
In Cuba, hundreds of thousands of people marched through Havana and other cities to mark May Day in a demonstration touted as a vast show of support for economic changes recently approved by the Communist Party.
In South Korea, police said 50,000 rallied in Seoul for better labor protections. They also urged the government to contain rising inflation, a growing concern across much of Asia, where food and oil prices have been spiking and threatening to push millions into poverty.
In the Philippines, about 3,000 workers demanding higher wages held a protest in a Manila square that included setting alight the effigy of Philippine President Benigno Aquino III grinning in a luxury car. Aquino was criticized this year for buying a secondhand Porsche in a country where a third of people live on a dollar a day.
In Taiwan, about 2,000 people rallied in Taipei to protest the widening income gap and to demand their government create better work conditions. About 3,000 people in Hong Kong took part in a Sunday morning protest while another 5,000 were expected at an afternoon rally.
In Spain, where unemployment has reached a eurozone high of 21.3 percent, several thousand people gathered in the eastern port city of Valencia and protested the government’s failure to create new jobs.
In Moscow, up to 5,000 Communists and members of other leftist groups marched through the city carrying a sea of red flags to celebrate their traditional holiday, which in Soviet times was known as the Day of International Solidarity of Workers.