NYC Holds May Day Rally For Workers, Immigrants

NEW YORK (AP) — Thousands of workers and immigrant laborers took to the streets on Sunday to celebrate May Day, demanding rights for those “who toil in the sun” while others pocket the profits.

The message in Manhattan — delivered with bullhorns and drums — was echoed by millions of workers around the world, from Havana to Berlin and Istanbul.

The burning issues were the same: more jobs, better working conditions, higher wages and decent health care.

May 1 is a traditional date for pro-labor demonstrations. Immigration advocates in the United States latched onto the celebrations in 2006.

At dozens of rallies around the country, they vowed to fight on behalf of undocumented immigrants who are being rounded up and deported.

“STOP the deportations!” read a placard in Manhattan’s Union Square, where about 1,000 people gathered at noon before marching down Broadway for a rally in downtown Foley Square.

The square is feet from a federal building that houses the New York office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, which is in charge of removal operations involving illegal immigrants.

Across U.S. farmlands, “they toil in the sun, they toil so hard — and yet, others are making the most money,” said Jocelyn Gill-Campbell, an organizer for Domestic Workers United.

She stood atop a pickup truck to address the Union Square crowd, which chanted in Spanish: “Primero de Mayo, dio proletario,” meaning, “May 1, workers’ day.”

Immigrant advocates were joined at the Manhattan rallies by members of U.S. labor unions whose voices were heard loudest in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states where in recent months they protested efforts to curtail the right to collective bargaining.

Underlying Sunday’s gatherings was seething anger over the rising cost of living and growing disparities between rich and poor — exacerbated by the global economic squeeze.

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. Turkish unions weren’t allowed back until last year.

Across Germany, some 423,000 people took to the streets to demand fair wages, better working conditions and sufficient social security, the country’s unions’ umbrella group, DGB, said.

Union group head Michael Sommer said the turnout — similar to last year’s — was a clear message to the government that it should give up its refusal to introduce a national minimum wage.

“Fair wages, good jobs and social security are the minimum standard in this country that workers expect, need and have to fight for time and again,” Sommer said at a protest in the central German town Kassel.

In Berlin, several rallies were scattered across the capital, with police saying 10,000 people had taken to the streets.

Some 8,000 gathered late in the afternoon at a rally called for by leftist groups, with police out in force as past demonstrations had turned violent. Marchers carried banners saying, “This is the least: fair salaries, fair jobs.”

Across the city, 6,000 security forces were deployed Sunday to monitor the protests, police said.

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 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 people rallied in Seoul for better labor protections. The people 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 of people into poverty.

Thousands of workers also marched in Taiwan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Several thousand people turned out for May Day demonstrations in Paris, including supporters of the far-right National Front party whose new president, Marine Le Pen, stressed her party’s long-standing anti-immigrant stance.

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 Porsche in a country where a third of the 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, local media reports said.

In Spain, where unemployment has reached a eurozone high of 21.3 percent, several thousand people gathered in the eastern port city Valencia and protested the government’s failure to create new jobs.

In Moscow, up to 5,000 Communists and members of other 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.

Since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, the holiday has been known as the Day of Spring and Labor, and organizations from across the political spectrum held their own marches on Sunday.

The dominant pro-Kremlin party, United Russia, gathered the largest crowd by pulling in workers from factories and institutes in and around Moscow. Party organizers claimed that 25,000 people took part.

Accounting for time differences, most rallies in Europe were finished by the time those in the United States started.

In Los Angeles, demonstrators waving union banners and American flags started filling downtown streets at noon.

The biggest march — almost 3,000 people organized by the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles — ended with a rally featuring dancers, musicians and speakers from labor and community groups.

In Atlanta, about 1,000 people gathered at the state capitol, chanting in Spanish and English, urging Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a Republican, not to sign a bill passed by the legislature that aims to crack down on illegal immigration

“In the labor movement we have a saying, `Don’t Mourn — Organize!”‘ said Ben Speight, organizer director of the Teamsters Local 728

Deal has said he plans to sign the bill, which would authorize law enforcement officers to check the immigration statuses of suspects and detain them if they are in the country illegally.

Angel Salome, a 17-year-old high school junior, was brought to the United States as an infant strapped to his mother’s back as she swam across the Rio Grande, part of which separates the U.S. and Mexico.

He told the rally: “I’m going to get that college degree and hopefully be able to provide some financial stability for my mother so she never has to scrub another toilet or tub again.”

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


One Comment

  1. Robert Senn says:

    illegal is illegal if you are here illegal you are a criminal and you have no rights you should be locked up made to work off all deat incured by being here your imployer should be put in jail with manitory time for thefth from theirs all hospitals and clinics should demand birth and drivers licence and proof of residence for all patients

    1. ENOUGH- CARLOS B says:


  2. dee says:

    I’m with you,you said it just right,thanks! I don’t have an answer to the question,but i do have ideas….bet yo do too. Gave a good day!

  3. jerseyjoey says:

    NYC your a problem.

  4. Daniel P. says:

    Long Live Karl Marx ! Long Live Lenin ! Long Live Uncle Joe Stalin ! Long Live Fidel ! Long Live The Kennedys ! Long Live Obamaniac ! Reconquista Arizona ! MEXICO FOREVER !

  5. Bell Toller says:

    Did they a permit for this rally rouge

  6. Bob Fowler says:

    A May Day rally would be the perfect time to round up illegals. Whatever your reason for assembling, if you are here illegally, you should be arrested. That is of course unless some laws aren’t meant for you.

    As for better jobs…let’s start with you come here by legal means, and earn your place in society like every group before you. At no other time in our history did we reward people for breaking our laws. I remember a day when we actually locked criminals up in prisons that they didn’t want to return to.

    I’ve cleaned toilets for a living. I was born here. Do you really think that I care that you don’t want to clean toilets? You came here because there weren’t enough toilets to clean wherever you came from. Hopefully they round the illegals up and treat them exactly like they deserve to be treated, as illegals.

  7. jessie G. says:

    LA RAZA is garbage. I’m hispanic and truly ashamed this group demands this and that for illegals all the time. It’s annoying having to tunn on Univision and hearing about illegals and LA RAZA and DREAM ACT and immigration advocates blaming the Obama administration for not working on imigration reform/putting a stop to the record amounts of deportations every freakin day several times a day. We’re sick of having the issue shoved down our throats when we see people who once held steady jobs in our streets and subways. We need to put these people first. It’s simply not fair!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. nyc says:

      I agree 100%. It’s hard to believe that many Illegals are demonstrating and demanding anything ! Why aren’t the Illegals arrested at these demonstrations and deported ? Many of them don’t even like America, they are here for the money and benefits only !

  8. jack says:

    unions= mafia. There was a need back in the day when they were mistreated…like in this article said, people have routine jobs…aka scrubbing tubs and toilets..that is not being mistreated..that is called not enough education to do anything else. If you could, you would be hired. AT LEAST YOU HAVE A JOB. keep scrubbing!

  9. Jack of the Dust says:

    New York City has always been the breeding ground for Socialism and in some cases, Communism. So, it’s no surprise that May Day is an important date in Gotham.

  10. mikeyg says:

    lock up all these trespassers.

  11. 08 20 says:

    May Day started in the U.S. over workers fighting for the 8 hour day. If we don’t remember this important history and continue the struggle, then we’ll continue to work longer hours for less pay.

  12. Dom R says:

    Workers of the world, unite! Regardless of whether we are here “legally” or “illegally,” we share a common interest – which is to democratically control our workplaces and end the U.S. wars that only benefit rich Americans.

  13. Johnny54 says:

    The highest unemployment rates always seem to be in left-leaning socialist countries and since the US is already in shambles thanks to those dopey Democrats and racketeer Republicans, true American workets are getting stiffed. The answer is get back to the 1950s logic. American made products, lowest immigration rates and family values.

  14. Julie says:

    Illegal immigrants do not deserve anything for committing a federal crime of entering the country illegally. And those companies that employ them should be fined and convicted for harboring these illegal immigrants.

    1. Hoo Boy! says:

      “And those companies that employ them should be fined and convicted for harboring these illegal immigrants.”

      Good luck with that!


      Construction, Landscape, Restaurant Industries

  15. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx says:

    Someone call Obama and have him order a air strike on this idiots

  16. John says:

    The labor movement has often made an enemy out of immigrant workers—to our great, great detriment. We scramble for the same nickels and dimes the wealthy throw us. Bottom line is immigrants largely built this country and in each case when a progressive union reached out to them, the people were united and made much more secure. Immigrants died in the Triangle Factory fire while tailoring clothes for the wealthy few. Slaves–forced immigrants–died on the middle passage at the hands of violently greedy moneyed interests. So for the person who wrote the first comment about “illegal aliens” and unions—brother, you need to wake up and recognize that the powers that be have always tried to separate us. Problem is working people like you are just too blind to see this. Open your eyes. Unionists all over are taking a stand toward real unity that I am proud to be a part of. Oh, and I was born right here, third generation.

    1. The Facts says:

      You skirt the difference between legal immigration and illegal immigration. There is a big difference. Most importantly, there is the issue of national security.

      1. Dale Auburn says:

        Didn’t you know? It’s politically incorrect to distinguish between LEGAL and ILLEGAL immigration.

  17. The Facts says:

    It seems suicidal for unions to support illegal aliens who undercut the wages of American workers and contribute to the high unemployment rate. Did the union bosses ever poll their own members about this? Doubt it.

    1. Saltine says:

      ALL the unions are corporatized and NOT for the interest of the People anymore. They are led by La Raza (the RACE) and other pseudo-Ultra-Liberal causes. You would not believe how much garbage I get from my Union about why it’s soooo important to shut down the voices of Obama dissenters and those who oppose illegal immigration and anyone who opposes handing illegals free education and medical care while our own people starve in the streets.

  18. John Gulino says:

    Welcome to the New World Order.

    1. Saltine says:

      Their mission is accomplished==We are now a Third-World, back-arsed, back-water country.
      The only question that remains is: Now what will all the otherThird-World, back-a*sed, back-water countries do without OUR help??? You see all the tornadic devastation, the Gulf catastophe–WHEN did any other country offer to lend us a hand???? Oh, that’s right, the NORAD troops in the upper mid-West are all of foreign origin and so are the Mexican troops who have infiltrated our borders. Nice!

Comments are closed.

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