Article published on the 2009-05-02 Latest update 2009-05-02 10:06 TU
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez during a May Day celebration in Caracas M
(Photo: Reuters/Miraflores Palace handout)
France: According to the CGT union federation, 1.2 million people marched on Friday's demonstrations, lower than the turnout on the 19 March general strike. But it is the highest May Day turnout since 2002, when over a million demonstrated against far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen made it to the second round face-off of the presidential election. In response to workers' concerns over job losses, Labour Minister Brice Hortefeux promised a meeting with unions and bosses "in the summer" to evaluate the government's anti-crisis measures.
Pakistan: As government troops fight with Islamist Taliban fighters in the Swat Valley, women workers joined a May Day demonstration in Lahore, demanding equal pay for work of equal value. Pakistani cities, especially Lahore, are regarded as more liberal than rural areas, such as Swat, and unions are stronger in urban areas.
South Africa: Members of the Cosatu union federation demonstrated, in a tradition going back to 1905. Unions are buoyed up by the victory of African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma in the presidential elections. "There's a feeling of hope and confidence that the new government will be more responsive to the demands that the workers are putting," Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven told RFI, adding that unions have already been consulted about the make-up of a new cabinet.entered government after an agreement with President Robert Mugabe, started his career as a leader of the country's main trade union federation, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
In Latin America, the National Guard clashed with opposition trade unionists and other demonstrators in Venezuela, while socialist President Hugo Chavez addressed a rally of his own supporters. In Mexico, police clashed with 200 demonstrators who ignored a union-agreed ban on public gatherings because of the H1N1 flu. In Bolivia President Evo Morales announced at a rally that he is to nationalise a subsidary of the BP oil company.