Protesters in Istanbul, Turkey’s largest city, were found violating restrictions introduced to combat a third wave of coronavirus.
Every year on May 1st, marches organised by employers and groups take place as part of International Labour Day celebrations in many nations.
This year, the rallies took place once again against the backdrop of a pandemic that has destroyed livelihoods and upended economies worldwide.
In many countries, police were deployed in large numbers to deal with possible disorder and ensure coronavirus restrictions were observed.
Scaled-back rallies were held in Germany, Russia, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the Philippines, Indonesia and many other countries. Most demonstrations were peaceful.
However, Turkey was one of the countries where police were involved in May Day demonstrations that turned violent on Saturday.
According to the governor’s office in Istanbul, 212 people were detained after breaking away from marches and attempting to reach Taksim Square, a sign of resistance.
Images showed violent scenes in which police used barriers to beat back demonstrators and pull some protesters away from the square.
The world declared its first full pandemic lockdown earlier this week in an effort to stem a rise in diseases and deaths.
In France, at least 34 people were arrested in the capital, Paris, after some marchers threw objects and clashed with riot police.
About 300 rallies were organised in Paris and other French cities, including Lyon, Nantes, Lille and Toulouse.
The protesters voiced their opposition to government plans to change unemployment benefits and demanded economic justice.
Similar demands were heard in Germany, where May Day protests were held nationwide, despite the introduction of tougher Covid-19 rules last week.
In the capital Berlin, thousands of police were deployed to monitor multiple demonstrations, including one organised by a group that opposes the government’s coronavirus strategy.
Coronavirus was on the agenda in Indonesia as well.
At one rally, protesters in the capital of Jakarta laid mock graves on the street to symbolise the human toll of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, a proposed law that would give police extra powers to curb protests was one of the main subjects of grievance at protests in the UK.
Hundreds gathered in London to protest against the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill, which activists fear would be used to curb dissent.