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Workers: More Money, Less McDonald's

A boy returns to the town of Banos after he had to evacuate the area in Ecuador, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2006. A volcanic eruption in Ecuador's Andes mountains killed at least one person and left more than 60 others missing, the mayor of a village on the volcano's slope said.
AP Photo/Dolores Ochoa R
Workers, leftists, rightists and students protested all over the world on Monday -- May Day -- demanding a vast range of things from more money to less capitalism, more green space to less immigrants.

In Germany, a nationalist fringe party staged rallies in several cities, the largest one in Berlin. There, about 900 far-right youths with signs demanding "work for Germans first" listened to speakers demanding the expulsion of foreigners.

About 100 leftists blowing whistles and chanting "Nazis out!" gathered near the rally. The groups were kept apart by 1,500 police officers. About 140 leftists were arrested or detained citywide.

In Hamburg, Germany, several hundred anarchists rioted overnight, breaking windows and setting bonfires. Police used water cannons and armored vehicles to clear the crowd. Sixteen officers were injured and 123 people arrested or taken into temporary custody.

In London, May Day anti-capitalist demonstrations began Monday with peaceful "Guerrilla Gardening" in Parliament Square, but the day turned violent when a group of masked activists trashed a McDonald's restaurant and attacked police.

At Parliament Square, banners and a Maypole went up, and some demonstrators strolled around elaborately costumed as rabbits, dragons and woodland creatures.

Violence flared in Manila, the Philippines' capital. Police used water cannons to disperse hundreds of leftists who threw rocks and tried to break through police lines in the direction of the presidential palace. Several protesters and a firefighter were injured.

Leftist labor groups claim President Joseph Estrada has followed pro-business policies despite campaign promises to side with labor in the fight against poverty.

In South Korea, about 300 militant students clashed with riot police trying to prevent them from joining a rally by workers in downtown Seoul. Witnesses said the students scuffled with riot police, hurling rocks and wielding sticks.

In Cuba, there was a massive turnout for May Day celebrations designed to add fuel to a national campaign to return 6-year-old Elian Gonzalez to his homeland from the United States.

Hundreds of thousands of people crowded the Plaza of Revolution in Havana for the first speech by President Fidel Castro at a May Day celebration in many years.

In the Indonesian cities of Jakarta and Surabaya, thousands of factory workers marched, shouting, "Raise Wages 100 percent!"

"After more than 30 years, workers are still oppressed with no right to form unions and to humanity," said worker Suliyam.

Millions of Indonesian workers lost their jobs and have been thrown into poverty since the country's worst economic crisis in more than three decades hit in 1997.

May Day wasn't always associated with workers. It started out as a pagan fertility rite. English Puritans banned it in 1644 because it led to all kinds of merrymaking. But eary on it became "the people's holiday" because workers would take the day off, even though the holiday wasn't linked to Christianity or approved by their employers. That's how it became identified with the Labor movement.

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