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Workers Gather Around the World

May 02, 1996|From Times Wire Services

Millions of workers throughout the world marked May Day on Wednesday with parades, rallies, slogans, rock concerts, protests and scattered violence.

In Istanbul, Turkey, where the most serious bloodshed occurred, two people were killed in clashes between security forces and leftists after police tried to search crowds gathering for the official May Day rally.

In Mexico City, hundreds of angry workers jeered Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo at a pro-government Labor Congress gathering. And in the capital's Zocalo square, an estimated 50,000 people protested against Mexico's economic crisis.

Among other gatherings around the world:

* Cuba: A crowd variously estimated as 200,000 to 1 million marched through Havana's Plaza of the Revolution in rows 50 to 60 people across as President Fidel Castro vowed that Cuba would never abandon socialism. The rally served as a protest of the Helms-Burton Act, enacted in March by U.S. lawmakers to strangle foreign investment in Cuba.

* China: Police in Beijing broke up a May Day rally and detained several people after clothes vendors took to the streets protesting the alleged seizure of their goods by the authorities.

* Germany: Berlin police wielding batons fought with stone-throwing rioters during a gathering of 10,000 leftists, with 60 protesters arrested and 35 officers injured. Elsewhere tens of thousands of union members rallied against government plans that they say will hit the needy without achieving the aim of creating jobs.

* Switzerland: In the fashionable streets of Zurich, rioters battled police as anti-capitalist sentiment resulted in broken windows and burning cars.

* Sri Lanka: At least five people were injured when police fired tear gas and charged members of a political party defying a government ban on parades, a restriction resulting from the separatist Tamil guerrilla rebellion in the island nation.

* Italy: Tens of thousands of marchers called for more jobs, while Rome celebrated the holiday with a 14-hour outdoor rock concert attended by more than 300,000 people in an enormous square next to San Giovanni Cathedral.

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