May Day: How The International Day Of Protest Is Celebrated Across The World

The Huffington Post UK  |  Posted: 1/05/2012 11:44 Updated: 1/05/2012 11:44

Manila May Day
Phillippines citizens march through the capital, Manila, to celebrate May Day

Whether it is pagan rituals at Wiltshire stone circles or employment rights marches in Taiwan, May Day has different meanings for different countries across the world.

The day is recognised across the globe as an international day of protest, originating from a 1886 Chicago protest which became violent and saw dynamite thrown at police and protestors shot and killed. Since then, protestors have used the day, which is a public holiday in many countries, to fight for workers' rights and other causes.

Across the world this May Day, as ever, there will be protests in a vast number of countries. Already, there have been prominent marches in Indonesia, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan and Malaysia, with protests across the rest of Asia, Europe and the Americas to come.

The day also happens to fall on a spring festival celebrated by Pagans as the day where spring passes over into summer. In Avebury, Wiltshire, Pagans were out in force to the town's stone circles to commemorate the day, which also is said to celebrate fertility in nature.

The American state and island of Hawaii celebrates Lei Day on 1 May, a day to remember the culture of the island.

See the slideshow below to find out what will be happening across the world today...

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  • May Day, Wiltshire, UK

    In Avebury, Wiltshire, pagans come together at the town's stone circles to mark the passing of spring.

  • May Day, Wiltshire, UK

    In Avebury, Wiltshire, pagans come together at the town's stone circles to mark the passing of spring.

  • May Day, Oxford, UK

    At Oxford's Magdalen College, students and residents brave the rain to celebrate May Day.

  • May Day, Paris, France

    On the day where Paris celebrates the 15th Century martyr Joan of Arc, far right leader Marine Le Pen, with her father Jean-Marie, meets supporters ahead of the French elections.

  • May Day, Russia

    In Russia, prime minister Dmitry Medvedev and president-elect Vladimir Putin joined a trade union rally in the capital, Moscow.

  • May Day, Germany

    In Germany, far-right neo-Nazi groups staged a demonstration, which was countered by an anti-Nazi rally.

  • May Day, Germany

    In response to a neo-Nazi rally in Berlin, a counter-march led by anti-Nazi activists was restrained by police.

  • May Day, Nepal

    Maoist Communist trade union activists held a rally in the capital of Kathmandu.

  • May Day, Cambodia

    In Cambodia today, factory workers marched to demand increased minimum wage and better working conditions

  • May Day, Phillippines

    In Manila, the capital of the Phillippines, protestors took to the streets

  • May Day, Hong Kong

    Protests for worker rights and better employment conditions were held across the country.

  • May Day, Malaysia

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, also saw protests for the minimum wage to be introduced in the country.

  • May Day, India

    At a rally in India, sex workers united to protest for employment rights for their business in the country.

  • May Day, Portugal

    Lisbon, Portugal saw marches a week ago calling for workers to unite on May Day in both protest and celebration of the 1974 revolution in the country, which brought an end to dictatorship in the country.

  • May Day, Taiwan

    Taiwanese students protested for a halt in the price of the student tuition fees.

  • May Day, Taiwan

    Taiwan also saw protests from thousands of local and foreign workers uniting to demand higher wages and better treatment.

  • May Day, Seoul

    In Seoul, South Korea, protestors march over labour law in the country.

  • May Day, Greece

    <a href="!/MatinaStevis/status/197239835155640320" target="_hplink">In this picture, </a>Greek protestors in Athens march against continuing austerity cuts in the country.

  • May Day, North Korea

    In Pyongyang's Moran Hill, families flock to parks and plazas to enjoy picnics and time with their families on the national holiday.

  • May Day, China

    A public holiday in China, families gather to spend time together in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

  • May Day, Germany

    In Berlin, Germany, protestors light flares in the early hours of May Day, on Walpurgisnacht, or Witches Night, a 30 April celebration prior to the day of protest.

  • May Day, Germany

    Each year, Germany hosts the techno event Mayday. The concert, held on the 30 April, coincides with the Witches Night in the country.