International Workers’ Day celebrated around the world

Labour Day, also known as International Workers’ Day, is widely celebrated as a public holiday in countries across the world.

It was chosen to commemorate the 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago, when workers went on strike to demand an eight-hour working day. What began as a peaceful rally soon became violent when an unknown individual threw a bomb at police, thought to be in retaliation for the killing of protesting workers the previous day by police.

Three years later, an alliance of French socialist and labour parties called for international demonstrations on the anniversary of the Haymarket affair. They chose the first of May as the formal date to commemorate the striking workers in Chicago.

Some countries celebrate a Labour Day on other dates of the year; but in most countries, Labour Day is celebrated on 1st of May. .

In recent times the traditional date of 1 May has seen workers across the globe staying true to the spirit of the labour movement, actively exercising the right to collective action. On 1 May 2012, the Occupy Wall Street movement held protests in several cities in America and Canada to protest against economic inequality.

Photos depict how International Workers’ Day was marked around the world:

 

Police fire water cannon at protesters during May Day clashes. Violence erupted between police and demonstrators after crowds, determined to defy a government ban, tried to march to the iconic Taksim Square Photograph: Emrah Gurel/AP

Police fire water cannon at protesters during May Day clashes. Violence erupted between police and demonstrators after crowds, determined to defy a government ban, tried to march to the iconic Taksim Square
Photo: Emrah Gurel/AP

Garment workers and other labour organisations shout slogans in Bangladesh on Labour Day 2015. Photo: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/Zuma Press/Corbis

Garment workers and other labour organisations shout slogans in Bangladesh on Labour Day 2015. Photo: Zakir Hossain Chowdhury/Zuma Press/Corbis

People gather in mass Friday prayer during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 1, 2015

People gather in mass Friday prayer during a May Day rally in Jakarta, Indonesia, May 1, 2015

Workers carry banner with messages in support of workers' rights during a march to mark Labour Day in Yangon May 1, 2015

Workers carry banner with messages in support of workers’ rights during a march to mark Labour Day in Yangon May 1, 2015

People throw smoke grenades during the annual Labour Day protest in front of Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, May 1, 2015

People throw smoke grenades during the annual Labour Day protest in front of Presidential Office in Taipei, Taiwan, May 1, 2015

People march in Moscow to mark Labour Day. Photo: RIA Novosti / Evgeny Biyatov

People march in Moscow to mark Labour Day. Photo: RIA Novosti / Evgeny Biyatov

Anti-nuclear protesters wear protective suits during a Labour Day rally Photograph: Franck Robichon/EPA

Anti-nuclear protesters wear protective suits during a Labour Day rally
Photo: Franck Robichon/EPA