Skip to main content

May Day protesters flood streets of Europe

By Oliver Joy and Gul Tuysuz, CNN
updated 6:44 AM EDT, Thu May 2, 2013
Hundreds of supporters of Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front party, took to the streets on May Day Wednesday as part of the day's celebrations in images captured by<a href='http://ireport.cnn.com/people/Batareykin'> iReporter Batareykin</a>. Hundreds of supporters of Marine Le Pen, leader of France's far-right National Front party, took to the streets on May Day Wednesday as part of the day's celebrations in images captured by iReporter Batareykin.
HIDE CAPTION
In pictures: May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
In pictures: May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
In pictures: May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
In pictures: May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
In pictures: May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
May Day protests around the world
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Greek journalist told CNN that Labor Day protests in Athens were relatively muted this year
  • Istanbul on citywide shut down. Riot police gassed and fired water cannons at dozens of demonstrators
  • Spain and Italy -- two countries blighted by the eurozone debt crisis -- have seen street protests

Istanbul (CNN) -- As European financial markets close for the spring celebration of May Day, protesters across Europe and beyond have taken to the streets to demonstrate for workers' rights and, in many cases, against painful austerity measures.

In Istanbul, Turkey, riot police gassed and fired water cannons at dozens of demonstrators trying to get to the popular-tourist destination of Taksim Square for May 1 demonstrations.

Groups carrying May 1 international Workers' Day banners and chanting "Longlive Workers' Day" while trying to the square were dispersed using water cannons and tear gas in Istanbul's Besiktas district.

Istanbul is now on a citywide shut down. Traffic has been restricted and public transportation to the square has been suspended including subways, metrobuses as well as ferry services that connect the city's European side to the Asian side.

Police and protesters clash in Seattle
May Day protests turn violent in Seattle
Turkey halts May Day protesters
24-hour disruption as Greeks lose hope

"We are expecting a problematic May 1," said Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu told broadcaster CNNTurk. "It would have been easy to solve this," he said.

Watch more: Turkey halts May Day protesters

Across the Aegean Sea, Greeks are turning out in Athens to show their anger at austerity measures that have sent the country's economy into a tailspin.

But Nathalie Savaricas, a Greek journalist, told CNN that Labor Day protests in Athens were relatively muted this year as fewer Greeks decided to demonstrate.

Read more: Spain's unemployment rate climbs to record high

"There is a sense of resignation among Greeks, she told CNN."What we're hearing now is some 45,000 protesters have assembled in the city center to protest against austerity, and against tax hikes and all the policies that have been continued by Prime Minister Samaras and his team."

Savaricas told CNN that the government is simply following the demands of the troika -- a group of international creditors made up of the International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank -- which have led the debt-ridden nation's economy into the "abyss."

Watch more: Eurozone unemployment hits record high

Greece has a debt to GDP level of 156% while government debt stands at a staggering 304 billion euros. The country -- one of four eurozone countries to request a sovereign bailout -- is also grappling with unemployment of over 27%, the highest in the single currency area, according to Eurostat, the Commission's data service.

Savaricas said many of her friends have fled abroad in search of a brighter future: "What they're telling me is that the Greeks are very much seen with contempt and the opportunities abroad are not that great because Europe is also suffering."

Read more: Greece to cut 15,000 jobs for bailout

She added that many Greeks at home are pinning their hopes on Samaras retracting some of the government's harsh austerity measures while reducing domestic bureaucracy to encourage foreign investment.

Spain and Italy -- two other countries blighted by the eurozone debt crisis -- have also seen demonstrations on the streets.

In the Spanish capital Madrid and the country's second city, Barcelona, thousands of protesters marched with some displaying signs 'Bread and shelter at fair price!'

Some denounced Bankia, Spain's fourth-largest and partially state-owned bank that requested a 19 billion euro bailout in 2012. Other signs read: "Where is our money? Swindlers."

Francisco Carrizo, 37, a Venezuelan teacher from Madrid, told CNN that people in Spain don't feel like celebrating May Day because unemployment is so high and the "government should be ashamed."

In 2007, before the global economic crisis hit, Spain had 1.9 million people unemployed -- 8.6% of the active population. That figure has now risen to 6.2 million.

Figures from Instituto Nacional de Estadística, Spain's national statistics office, showed unemployment among 16 to 24 year-olds is at 57.2%. Joblessness is higher among women than men.

Carizzo told CNN: "I feel kind of bad because in my case I have two jobs. It's the sort of thing I don't usually tell people. I feel sad, let down and I have mixed feelings about it." He added: "There are people who are having a really hard time."

High unemployment and cuts to the public sector are being felt in Italy too. Unemployment reached 11% in March, while the country remained in political deadlock since the elections in February failed to yield a government.

May Day protests have reportedly taken place in Rome as well as Bologna and Parma in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy.

Read more: Italian lower house approves new government

Martina Lunardelli, 28, interpreter, Pordenone, northern Italy, told CNN that she feels "ashamed" of all the political and economic turmoil that has dogged the eurozone third-largest economy since the debt crisis began in 2010.

"I am trying to flee from here," she told CNN. "I have lost all the residual faith I had in what should be my home country."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT