May Day: Rallies around the world
LONDON, England -- Mass gatherings of workers and protesters marking May Day are being held around the world.
Fears that May Day events could turn violent were realised in Australia where there were violent protests in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Thirty police officers were injured, two seriously, in Sydney and 30 protesters were arrested outside the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
Police said they did not know how many protesters were injured.
Several people were injured and about 20 activists arrested when protesters tried to force their way into the stock exchange in Brisbane.
Police on horseback charged and broke up a group of protesters blocking streets in Perth on the west coast.
Protesters three deep linked arms to block the entrance to the ASX buildings in Sydney and Melbourne chanting: "No one in, no one out."
In Korea, some 1,000 workers from the two Koreas observed May Day at Diamond Mountain, a scenic North Korean resort area.
The festivities were the first of their kind since the division of the Korean Peninsula in 1945.
In Seoul, 10,000 workers and students beating gongs and drums marched, following a large banner that read: "Down with (President) Kim Dae-jung, who ruined workers' lives."
In a separate march in the city, 3,000 workers cheered while protesters set fire to a coffin symbolising the government's economic reforms that have resulted in layoffs.
A brief scuffle erupted when police tried to block them from spilling into a six-lane boulevard.
In Taiwan, 20,000 workers, waving placards and purple banners reading "Give Me Work," marched through Taipei's government district demanding better policies to curb the island's jobless rate, which is at a 16-year high of nearly 4 percent.
In Cuba, leader Fidel Castro's government called for hundreds of thousands of workers to take part in a march past the U.S. government's mission in Havana.
In Colombo, Sri Lanka, more than 1,000 armed policemen shut many roads to traffic and lined the streets as political parties and trade unions began rallies and meetings. Most party leaders, however, were advised not to participate, warned that they could be targets of rebel attacks.
Razor sharp barbed wire, bamboo sticks and steel barricades blocked roads leading toward a park in Karachi, Pakistan, where pro-democracy activists announced a rally to demand an end to the military rule.
In Hong Kong, about 150 Asian domestic helpers marched to government headquarters Tuesday to protest what they call unfair treatment in the affluent territory.
The migrants from Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand wore headbands and carried banners reading, "Say no to class discrimination."
In Indonesia, about 1,000 workers rallied to demand that May Day be made an official holiday. The dictatorship of ex-President Suharto crushed the trade union movement when it took power in the mid-1960s and abolished the holiday.
Riots, dancing mark Asia's May Day
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