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Protesters come out for International Workers' Day


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    Men wearing traditional Bavarian dress take part in the Bavarian tradition of raising the maypole as part of May Day celebrations on May 1, 2012 in Perchting, Germany.

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    A foreign student displays a placard during a May Day rally in Taipei on May 1, 2012.

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    A protester holds a placard during a march as part of the annual May Day workers' events on May 1, 2012 in the western French city of Rennes.

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    People take part in a march during the annual May Day workers' events on May 1, 2012 in Toulouse, southern France.

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    Protestors sit with red flags during a May Day rally in central Istanbul, on May 1, 2012.

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    People sit on top of a McDonalds restaurant to watch a May Day rally in central Istanbul, on May 1, 2012.

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    Feminists shout slogans during a May Day rally in central Istanbul, on May 1, 2012.

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    A satyric 'restriction' notice left by protesters translated as 'property of IMF, EU and ECB ' hangs in front of the Greek Parliament in central Athens, during a May Day rally on May 1, 2012.

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    A man wears a Guy Fawkes mask during a May Day rally in central Istanbul, on May 1, 2012.

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    A woman holds a banner reading 'Merkel presses, Rajoy drowns, city rope' during a May Day rally in the center of Barcelona on May 1, 2012.

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    People sit on bus stop roof as others sit under during a May Day rally in central Istanbul, on May 1, 2012.

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    Syriza left party supporters chant slogans while marching in central Athens, during a May Day rally on May 1, 2012.

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    People protest during a May Day rally in the center of Barcelona on May 1, 2012.

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David Brancaccio: It's International Workers' Day -- organized by unions and left-leaning political parties across the world. Thousands of protesters are out on the streets in places like Greece, France and Russia.

From Paris, the BBC's Hugh Schofield reports that the protests are not just about unions this year.


Hugh Schofield: Trade unions and socialist parties oppose the government cuts and austerity plans that European officials say are needed to get through the debt crisis. In Greece, and also in Spain, protesters are calling for more state spending to boost growth and bring down unemployment.

Haris Manolis is out on the streets in Greece today. He's a striking steel worker.

Haris Manolis: Right now May Day is a symbol for us. It's on our 183rd strike day. One of the main reasons we are striking is that we can't turn our back on a struggle that's been won with blood.

Greece has elections on Sunday, as does France -- where there are in fact three separate rallies in Paris.

In France, I'm the BBC's Hugh Schofield, for Marketplace.

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